While much information has circulated regarding the Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) negotiations between Lowndes County and the Cities of Dasher, Hahira, Lake Park, Remerton and Valdosta, a few items require clarification so that the public is correctly informed.
All Cities in Lowndes County are in Agreement
Dasher, Hahira, Lake Park, Remerton and Valdosta —which are all a part of Lowndes County and make up approximately 55% of the county’s population—are all in agreement that the expired 2008 SDS agreement must be revised to meet the current needs and those anticipated over the next 10 years. This is to ensure that funding and tax equity is provided to all county citizens by eliminating double taxation and reducing the unnecessary duplication of governmental services, as is the purpose of the SDS. View State of Georgia SDS Law.
Annexation is NOT a Part of the SDS
According to Georgia law, annexation originates with a property owner. When a property owner seeks annexation, it is normally to receive a higher level of service offered by the adjacent city that is not available from the county. Furthermore, Lowndes County and all counties always have a right to object to a property owner’s request to annex his or her property into a city. One of the more sacred rights in our country is our personal right to own property. Annexation is not part of the SDS. It is a process that begins with a property owner making a formal request for annexation, which can only be considered if the property touches a city and has compatible land use plans with both the county and city. Annexation can occur only after a recommendation from the Planning Commission, a public hearing and review by the county with the right to object, and lastly, a public hearing and approval by the city. View O.C.G.A. Title 36, Chapter 36, Annexation of Territory.
All Lowndes County Governments are Out of Compliance
Lowndes County is the only local government to not publicly vote on and approve a temporary extension of the existing SDS, making all local governments ineligible to receive state funding or permits needed to serve our local citizens. Dasher, Hahira, Lake Park, Remerton and Valdosta all voted to temporarily extend the SDS to keep the local governments in compliance with state law. Lowndes County is not only in disagreement with all of the cities, it is also in disagreement with the state, having claimed it is not out of compliance despite all the local governments receiving a written notice otherwise. A list of local governments in Georgia in non-compliance is posted on the Georgia Department of Community Affairs website. View DCA Local Government Compliance Status.
For more information, visit www.valdostacity.com.