LMIG Program Provides Funding to Repave City Streets 

The City of Valdosta will resurface 3.22 miles of city streets using funds provided by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) and SPLOST VII, beginning Tuesday, Feb. 28, weather permitting.

The LMIG transportation funding is allocated from the state based on a formula that includes population and street mileage. The city submitted a list of streets for resurfacing to GDOT for their review, and 15 portions of city streets were prioritized for this year’s LMIG program based on funding availability and conditions of the roads.

The Valdosta City Council approved the use of these funds at the Nov. 10, 2016 City Council meeting for the purpose of this project, which also utilizes SPLOST VII funds for the portion of the project above the GDOT commitment.

The city has successfully used LMIG funds in the past to repave streets and to provide a smoother and safer travel for motorists throughout the city. Over five miles of city streets were repaved in 2014 and 2015.  

The street resurfacing work will consist of curb and gutter repair (if applicable), base repair, milling of existing asphalt, leveling, root removal, new asphalt road course and other related work.

Streets may be closed for a short duration during the day while under construction, but they will be opened by the end of each working day. Motorists are urged to follow all traffic warning signs and proceed around these construction sites with caution.

Citizens may view the LMIG 2016 street list and map located on the City of Valdosta Engineering web page under Project News and Updates. For more information, contact the Engineering Department at 229-259-3530.

Posted by Sementha Mathews Friday, February 24, 2017 3:26:00 PM Categories: Engineering Press Release Public Information

Arbor Day Honors City’s 31st Year as Tree City USA 

PHOTO 1:  Matthew Mrizek of the Georgia Forestry Commission presents Mayor John Gayle with the Tree City USA award, marking the 31st consecutive year that the City of Valdosta has received the award for its management of trees in Valdosta’s urban forest. 

PHOTO 2:  A Drake Elm was planted in front of the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts to honor Molly Huckaby Hardy, who was killed in 1998 when a truck bomb exploded outside the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya where Molly was stationed. (In photo from left): Valdosta Councilmember Vivian Miller-Cody; Molly Deese, Rotary Club President and Wild Adventures VP; Emily Davenport, Valdosta Assistant Engineering Director; Valdosta City Councilman Alvin Payton, Jr.; William Hardy and Brandi Plants, relatives of Molly Huckaby Hardy; Bette Bechtel, Former Valdosta City Councilmember and Past Tree Commission Member; John Gayle, Valdosta Mayor; Cheryl Oliver, Executive Director of the Turner Center for the Arts; Sandra Tooley, Valdosta City Councilmember; and Amy Hall, Valdosta Tree Commission Chair.


The City of Valdosta was honored on Feb. 17 by the Georgia Forestry Commission as a Tree City USA for its 31st consecutive year at the annual Arbor Day event, sponsored by the Valdosta Tree Commission. The event was held at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, following a weeklong celebration of trees and their benefits to the community.

“I’m proud of our community’s long-standing commitment to the planting and maintenance of our urban forest and to the overall commitment to environmental stewardship, so that our city will be green and sustainable and attractive for generations to come,” said Mayor Gayle, who accepted the Tree City USA designation. “Of the 536 cities in Georgia, only 135 cities are Tree City USA communities—and only nine of the 135 cities have held the honor for 31 consecutive years or more. This designation shows the long-term commitment that Valdosta has made to the investment of its trees and natural resources.”

At the event, the Valdosta Tree Commission presented the Legacy Award to the Rotary Club of Valdosta for the organization’s shared investment of the community tree canopy through the Memorial Tree Program. Rotary Club of Valdosta President Molly Deese accepted the award, accompanied by District Governor Pam Lightsey and Area Governor Steve Barnes.

Certified Arborist Charlie Marcus of Legacy Arborist Services was the guest speaker at the event and also led an educational class on trees and infrastructure in the afternoon.

Following the ceremony a Drake Elm was planted in front of the Turner Center for the Arts to honor Molly Huckaby Hardy, a Valdosta native who served the State Department for more than 25 years at Foreign Service posts around the world. On August 7, 1998, Hardy and more than 200 others were killed when truck bombs exploded outside the US Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya (where Hardy was stationed) and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Her ex-husband and friend William Hardy and daughter Brandi Plants were also in attendance at the event.

The Tree City USA program was established by the Arbor Day Foundation, along with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service, to improve community forestry. There are more than 3,400 Tree City USA communities across the nation, representing 135 million citizens.

In 1973, former Valdosta City Councilmember Bette Bechtel introduced the first Tree and Landscape Ordinance to the Mayor and Council, which was passed unanimously in 1974. In 1984, the city formed the Valdosta Tree Commission. The efforts, education, and vision of these early leaders has led to a city recognized for its beauty, its urban tree canopy, and its commitment to trees and their important place in the quality of life of our city.

In 1990, the city hired a full-time Arborist to bring more emphasis and education and to work with the community to plant, preserve and protect our urban tree canopy. The city’s tree and landscape ordinance had significant changes in 1994 and in 2000.  In that particular year, the tree commission, general contractors, developers, homebuilders and others came together to agree upon a balanced ordinance, one that allowed development so that the city could grow and prosper, but one that encouraged preservation of specimen trees and included reasonable requirements for tree planting, tree maintenance, greenspace and landscaping. Over the years, the city has streamlined their Arbor Division with the Engineering Department to streamline operations and further enhance the management of our urban forest.   

Visit the photo gallery on the City of Valdosta’s new website to view photos of the event.  For more information, visit

Posted by Sementha Mathews Friday, February 17, 2017 5:14:00 PM Categories: Engineering Press Release Public Information

9th Annual People’s Choice Photo Contest Announced 

Download printable application, or complete application online.

The City of Valdosta is proud to partner again with the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts for the 9th Annual Valdosta People’s Choice Photo Contest. The local tradition invites people to capture the beauty of Valdosta on camera.

The 2017 contest categories, subject to photographer’s interpretation, are:

  • It’s a Generational Thing (people living life)
  • For Weather or Worse (seasons and weather)
  • BeClaws; I Love You (for animal lovers)
  • Standing the Test of Time (local architecture)
  • Stomping Grounds (favorite places) 

This year’s photo contest sponsors are Jack Oliver Real Estate, Georgia Power, Lowndes County Animal Services, BFB Gladwin Architects, and Valdosta Main Street.

Interested individuals are welcome to submit up to five entries (a maximum of one per category); however, all photographs must be taken within the Valdosta City limits. Entries must be mailed or hand-delivered to the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts by May 31, 2017, where they will be displayed in the Center’s Tillman Gallery beginning June 12.

A reception will be held at the arts center on June 12 to kick off the people’s choice voting, which will run through July 12. For five weeks, the public can view and vote for their favorite photo entries.

Overall winners and honorable mentions in each of the five categories and the overall Best of Show awards will be announced at a reception at the arts center on Monday, July 17, from 5- 7 p.m. Monetary prizes will be awarded to all winners.

Last year’s Best of Show winner, Pricilla Sumner, received the largest number of people’s choice votes for her photo, Butterfly Kisses, which beautifully captured a monarch butterfly resting on a flower in a local field.

The 2017 photo contest will continue to feature a category for younger photographers ages 16 and under. Last year, Megan Ford won Youth Best of Show for her photo, Cloudy with a Chance of Trains, which captured a black and white image of a train in Valdosta.

All photographs will remain on display in the Tillman Gallery through Wednesday, July 26. Winning photos will also become part of a traveling display that can be viewed from August until December in various city locations, such as the Valdosta Daily Times, Valdosta Regional Airport, the James Rainwater Conference Center, the Valdosta Mall, the South Georgia Regional Library, and more.

No professional skills, special equipment or fees are required to enter. For more information, call the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts at 229-247-2787 or the city’s Public Information Office at 229-259-3548.

Applications may also be downloaded from  

Posted by Sementha Mathews Wednesday, February 15, 2017 3:59:00 PM Categories: Press Release Public Information

If I Were Mayor Contest Kicks Off 

All Hands Up

Mayor John Gayle inspired 6th-grade students at Valdosta Middle School to enter the “If I Were Mayor, I Would…” essay contest during his Feb. 15 visit. Students enthusiastically raised their hands to agree to enter the essay contest. The deadline for the contest, sponsored by the Valdosta Youth Council, is Friday, March 10. Read more.

Winston Speaks Up

During Mayor John Gayle’s visit to Valdosta Middle School on Feb. 15, he asked sixth grader Winston Edgerton what he would do if he were mayor. Edgerton replied that he would make sure that his city stays in order and that he would continue to grow Valdosta into the best place to live. The mayor’s visit encouraged students to sign up for the “If I Were Mayor, I Would...” contest by Friday, March 10. Read more.

Posted by Sementha Mathews Wednesday, February 15, 2017 3:53:00 PM Categories: City Council Press Release Public Information

Planted Tree Honors Moody Mission 

Residents gathered at Freedom Park on Feb. 14 to witness the planting of a Trident Maple tree to commemorate the sacrifices Moody Air Force Base personnel make for our community and country. Pictured from left to right: Colonel Thomas Kunkel, 23d Wing Commander, Moody Air Force Base; Amy Hall, Valdosta Tree Commission Chairperson; Larry Hanson, Valdosta City Manager; Monica Haynes, Valdosta Tree Commission Vice Chairperson; Kevin Jenkins; Valdosta Urban Forestry Supervisor; Grady Padgett, Arbor Division Heavy Equipment Operator; Bob Harrison, Valdosta Tree Commission Member; Emily Davenport, Assistant Director, Valdosta Engineering Department; Bill Slaughter, Lowndes County Board of Commissioners Chairman; and John Gayle, Valdosta Mayor. For more information on other Arbor Week events visit ​

Posted by Sementha Mathews Tuesday, February 14, 2017 2:23:00 PM Categories: Engineering Press Release Public Information

Planted Tree Honors First Responders 

Community officials and first responders planted a Winged Elm tree at McKey Park on Feb. 13 in honor of the critical role that first responders play in our community. Pictured from left to right: David Bauch, EMS Administrative Chief; Amy Hall, Valdosta Tree Commission Chairperson; Brian Boutwell, Valdosta Assistant Fire Chief; Sgt. First Class William Tabb, Valdosta GSP Post Commander; Brad Shealy, District Attorney of the Southern Judicial Circuit; Bill Slaughter, Lowndes County Board of Commissioners Chairman; Larry Hanson, Valdosta City Manager; Alan Rowe, VSU Chief of Police; John Gayle, Valdosta Mayor; and Brian Childress, Valdosta Chief of Police. For more information on other Arbor Week events visit

Posted by Sementha Mathews Monday, February 13, 2017 3:21:00 PM Categories: Engineering Press Release Public Information

Valdosta Kicks Off Arbor Week 

Mayor John Gayle issued a proclamation for Arbor Week at Valdosta City Hall on Feb. 13. Pictured from left to right: Emily Davenport, Assistant Director, Valdosta Engineering Department; Monica Haynes, Superintendent, VSU Landscaping and Grounds; Traycee Martin, VSU Vice President of Finance and Administration; Jason Manley, South Region VP for Georgia Power; Colonel Susan Riordan-Smith, 23d Mission Support Group Commander, Moody AFB; John Gayle, Valdosta Mayor; Amy Hall, Valdosta Tree Commission Chairperson; Larry Hanson, Valdosta City Manager; Kevin Jenkins; Valdosta Urban Forestry Supervisor; and Grady Padgett, Arbor Division Heavy Equipment Operator.  For more information on other Arbor Week events, visit  ​

Posted by Sementha Mathews Monday, February 13, 2017 3:16:00 PM Categories: Engineering Public Information

Thomas Hess Honored as Employee of the Month  

Valdosta Mayor John Gayle and Utilities Director Henry Hicks honored Central Maintenance Superintendent Thomas Hess as the February 2017 Employee of the Month at the Feb. 9 City Council meeting. Hess received a framed certificate and a check for $200, and his name appears on a plaque displayed in City Hall.

Since 2009, Hess has been employed with the City of Valdosta Utilities Department, where he is responsible for supervising all maintenance staff, inspecting electrical and mechanical equipment for lift stations, examining water and wastewater facilities to ensure efficient operations, and developing and implementing the annual budget.

Hess is always available for the employees by supervising, listening, and supporting their ideas and decisions. If Hess sees a better way to handle a situation, he instructs the employees constructively and supportively. On several occasions, Hess has treated his employees to lunch to reward them for their continuous hard work.

Hess is highly regarded by his peers for being a superintendent who boosts the morale of the employees and makes life at work overall more enjoyable.
The City of Valdosta applauds Thomas Hess for his outstanding work ethic and leadership skills and for being named the February 2017 Employee of the Month.

Posted by Sementha Mathews Monday, February 13, 2017 8:14:00 AM Categories: Press Release Public Information Utilities

VPD Honors the Blue at Ceremony 

Visit Photo Gallery for Ceremony Photos

The Valdosta Police Department hosted an awards ceremony on Feb. 9 to honor several service awards and accomplishments. The following is a list of the personnel honored at the ceremony:

10 Years of Dedicated Service:

  • Sergeant Travis Phinney, Power Squad

15 Years of Dedicated Service:

  • Shelia Mitchell, Parking Enforcement
  • Officer June Gartman, SRO at Sallas Mahone Elementary School
  • Jill Chammoun, Evidence Custodian

20 years Dedicated Service:

  • Detective Calvin Burgess, Detective in the Property Crimes Unit
  • IT Analyst Ean Oliveto
  • Lieutenant Tom Wheeler, Patrol Shift.

VDP Officer of the Year Nominee Recognition:   Sergeant Gerald Watts

VPD Obstacle Course Top Award:  Officer Brett Boyd

VPD Certificate of Appreciation:  Detective Brad Ingram

VPD Award of Honor:

  • Officer Alyssa Shirey
  • Officer Randall Hancock

VDP Purple Heart:  Officer Randall Hancock

The City of Valdosta congratulates all of these award recipients, as well as all the men and women who serve the department and our community, for a job well done.

Posted by Sementha Mathews Thursday, February 9, 2017 4:57:00 PM Categories: Police Public Information

City’s Purchasing Agent Honored by GPAG 

Purchasing Agent Greg Brown, CPPO, CPPB, for the City of Valdosta, was recently awarded the Jimmy Cochran Distinguished Member Service Award by the Governmental Procurement Association of Georgia (GPAG) at the organization’s Fall Trends and Mentoring Conference held at Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge, in December 2016. This award, selected exclusively by the Executive Board, is presented to a dedicated GPAG member who serves the chapter faithfully and embodies the high standards of the organization.

Brown has served the GPAG in many capacities, including instructor, membership chair, expo chair, awards and scholarship chair, treasurer and president of the organization, to name a few. He has over 20 years of dedicated service to GPAG.

Brown is a nationally certified procurement officer through the National Institute of Governmental Purchasings (NIGP),  which he earned in 1996 and has successfully recertified every five years. As a purchasing agent for the City of Valdosta for nearly 22 years, Brown oversees the purchasing division which provides centralized procurement of all equipment, supplies and services necessary to operate the City and supports all departments with information, specifications and standards. His division is also responsible for maximizing revenues for the disposal of surplus property and maintaining annual contracts for specific services and commodities to assure the best pricing and service available.

“Greg is an outstanding member of the City of Valdosta team, working together with other city employees to best utilize our resources for the benefit of our citizens and community,” said Assistant City Manager Mark Barber. “The City applauds Greg for his professionalism and dedication, resulting in him being recognized with this prestigious award.”

GPAG, a chapter of the NIGP, is a nonprofit professional organization that promotes continuing education, high ethical standards and professionalism in public purchasing. GPAG is an organization dedicated to connecting those involved in public purchasing with the resources needed to succeed and is a highly respected organization throughout the State of Georgia and the United States.

Posted by Sementha Mathews Thursday, February 9, 2017 9:12:00 AM Categories: Finance Press Release Public Information
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Public Information


Public Information Officer

Sementha Mathews


Valdosta City Hall Annex
300 N. Lee Street, Suite #102
Valdosta, GA 31601

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