Updated By: Winnie Wright
June 19, 2014
Valdosta, GA - Last week, The City of Valdosta was taking input from the community for their 2015 budget. At Thursday's City Council meeting, The Mayor and City Council will vote on that budget.
The community spoke, and the City listened. Top of mind in next year's budget, working on the sewage problems that have plagued Valdosta.
City Manager, Larry Hanson, says it has been a long and hard process. He has met with various departments within the city and also it's residents to put together next year's budget. Much of the $82.4 million budget will go towards wastewater improvements. Tonight he will present the 2015 budget to the Mayor and Council.
"It has a lot of capital projects in there to meet needs that we've identified in our city. Including, $32 million for a new Force Main Project, and $23 million for the relocation and replacement of the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant. So it's a challenging budget, but it's one that we feel good about and we feel our Mayor and Council will adopt", says Hanson.
Hanson says aside from the wastewater improvements, one of the items he is excited about its replacing some of the old cars at the police department.
Another big item at the meeting, a contract will be awarded to build the new Wastewater Treatment Plant in Valdosta.
Valdosta, GA - The City of Valdosta is looking for the community's input on how tax dollars should be spent in the 2015 budget.
Budget hearings are being held Tuesday and Wednesday to get that input.
The City of Valdosta says public meetings like the ones being held here tonight and tomorrow are essential in getting the public's opinions on what projects they think should be at the top of the City's list.
The City also says they are looking at a variety of projects that will get underway in 2015. City Manager, Larry Hanson, says that with a number of budget restraints over the last few years, many projects and purchases had to be pushed back. He says this year's budget has a lot more capital to purchase items like police cars and garbage trucks, of course with a great deal of money going towards wastewater projects.
"There's a good bit of capital in this budget and a lot of that is obviously around the wastewater issues that we have had, that we are addressing. So there's a significant amount of investment in the Force Main Project, and the beginning of the wastewater treatment plant relocation, as well as continuation of manhole replacement, and lift station upgrades", says Hanson.
He also says everyone in the city is affected by the budget, that's why the meetings are public.
If you would like to give your input on the City's budget for 2015, meetings will be held Tuesday and Wednesday starting at 5:30 on the second floor in Council Chambers.
Valdosta, GA - One of the problems facing the City of Valdosta is that every time it rains, sewage spews from it's manhole covers. In a work session Tuesday the City Council discussed which of the nearly 6,500 manholes would be raised and repaired across the city to avoid sewage overflows.
"By being proactive and replacing or relining these manholes ahead of time, we don't have those failures. Because when you have emergency repair, that's not budgeted, that's not planned for, you have to do it", says Utilities Director, Henry Hicks.
After a series of spills, The City had to make an agreement with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to fix the problem. Part of the agreement is that the city must repair 60 manholes per year until 2018. The city says 38 manholes are considered to be urgent.
Hicks says one of the manholes at the top of his list is the one behind the Goodyear store on Bemiss Road. He says not only does that one need to be relined, but it also needs to be raised.
Hicks also says the contractors will decide which manholes will be repaired first, based on which ones are the worst. Councilwoman, Sandra Tooley, says she is concerned the repairs may not be spread evenly across town.
"Some of their staff also came out to look at manholes on this side of town, and I don't know why these manholes were not added to that agenda."
Tooley says she plans to ask more questions about the inspection and selection processes in the next City Council meeting, which will be held Thursday at 5:30.