New Storm, New Rules?

There's no question that Lowndes County has been a safe haven to Florida evacuees throughout the past month.

Paige Dukes, County Public Information Officer, says, "One of the things our local officials and emergency management have learned throughout the three hurricanes is that Lowndes County and the City of Valdosta are quite a hub for evacuees."

Now that Hurricane Ivan poses yet another threat, county commissioners say new ordinances are necessary to crack down on price gouging and enact county curfews for both residents and evacuees.

Joe Pritchard, Lowndes County Manager, says, "It really has not been an issue up until now. We have been fortunate that there has not been a real need for that, but the reality is it's becoming more and more necessary."

Should Gov. Purdue declare Georgia in a state of emergency, these new ordinances would be enforced in addition to any state laws. County officials say these ordinances will prevent contractors and businesses from taking advantage of any evacuee or resident.

Dukes adds, "We want something more specific here locally so that when our local elected officials decide to make declaration in Lowndes County that we have something here that can be locally prosecuted with penalties for those offenders."

County officials say many neighboring counties have already adopted similar ordinances.