Lowndes increases millage rate- from the Valdosta Daily Times

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VALDOSTA — For the first time since 1999, the Lowndes County Commission voted Wednesday to increase the millage rate.

The County Commission will receive 8.31 mills for the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority will receive an additional 1 mill, and the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority will receive an additional 1.25 mills. This

brings the county’s total millage rate

to 10.56 mills.

Before commissioners adopted the millage increase, resident James Clark stood before the commission in opposition of a tax increase.

“I don’t want to sound like I am talking down to you all because you’re all in the same boat that I am in one way or another. We’re all paying taxes, but as a commission, you have a choice. When you need money, you just go to me to get money. But when you raise my taxes, I don’t have anybody to go to. I just have to cut and live within what I got,” Clark said.

During the meeting, Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter said, “First off, we’ve heard comments from the three hearings from citizens and commissioners. The citizens comments, we’ve heard some that have been in support of it, and we’ve heard some that have, of course, been opposed to it. Any time the millage increases, it’s never an easy thing that we have to do. However, the business of local government does require us to have a balanced budget, so consequently, when we’ve done everything that we can over the years to address the economy and the efficiency of government, once all of those things have been accomplished, and still at the end of the day, the revenue that is required to support our local government and provide the services for all of the citizens in Lowndes County then there could come a time when we have to address the possibility of a millage increase, and that’s where we’re at now.”

Commissioners Joyce Wright, Richard Raines, and Demarcus Marshall approved the 1.09 millage increase, by a 3-0 vote; Commissioner Crawford Powell was not present during the hearing.

Though the chairman only has to vote to break a tie, Slaughter cast a vote supporting the millage increase, too.

More information about the public hearings or the millage rate, contact the Lowndes County Commissioners’ office, (229) 671-2400.

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Chamber plants 100th centennial tree- From the Valdosta Daily Times

Former Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce chairmen and other chamber members gather Wednesday for a group photo at the dedication ceremony for the 100th Centennial Tree.

Former Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce chairmen and other chamber members gather Wednesday for a group photo at the dedication ceremony for the 100th Centennial Tree.

VALDOSTA — Founded in September 1912, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest chambers in the state.

In 2012, a tree project was initiated to celebrate the chamber’s centennial. This project allowed businesses and members of the community to purchase trees to be planted along St. Augustine Road and the new Gornto Road Extension.

These trees serve as a representation for businesses and citizens throughout Valdosta while also serving as a symbol of a growing, healthy, progressive business community.

On Wednesday morning, a dedication event was held for the 100th centennial tree. While all the other trees planted are Live Oaks, the 100th is a Little Gem Magnolia that honors the first 100 chairmen of the chamber. This tree was placed behind the chamber building.

As former chairmen gathered around their tree, Carla Penny, Centennial Tree Project Committee chairperson, spoke of the significance of the 100th tree along with all the other trees planted around town.

“All trees have survived and are looking terrific and have had a large beautifying effect on that area and the entrance to our city,” said Penny.

Tim Jones, who served as the chairmen in the centennial year, also addressed the crowd.

“Serving the chamber in 2012, was a great honor to me,” said Jones.

He explained that during his year of service, the chamber lobbied for the new Health Sciences building that now, two years later, sits within our city.

“It was so heartening to see so many fine supporters,” Penny said. “There couldn’t have been a better way to mark the community.”

A marker, provided by Carson McLane Funeral Home, sits beneath the Little Gem Magnolia deeming it the Centennial Magnolia and marking its representation of the past chairmen. The tree itself was provided by Buddy McDonald of McDonald Nurseries and Landscaping whose father served as a chairman. McDonald Nurseries was also instrumental in the planting of the trees.

A tree-shaped plaque has been placed inside the Chamber of Commerce with a leaf for each tree sponsor.

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Metro Valdosta’s unemployment rate rises to 8.2 percent in June

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ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced Wednesday that Metro Valdosta’s unemployment rate increased to 8.2 percent in June, up six-tenths of a percentage point from 7.6 percent in May.The rate was 8.8 percent in June a year ago.

The rate increased because of seasonal factors, such as the summer job loss among non-contract school workers and a rise in the labor force as graduates and students entered the job market.

Over the month, the number of jobs decreased by 1,400, or 2.6 percent, to 53,400 in June from 54,800 in May.                       Most of the job losses came in state education, trade and transportation, and the good-producing sector, which includes manufacturing and construction. However, over the year, the number of jobs increased by 300, or 0.6 percent, from 53,100 in June 2013.

Most of the job increases came in trade and transportation and state government. Also, there were 333 new claims for unemployment insurance filed in June, a decrease of 123, or 27 percent, from 456 in May.

Most of the decrease in claims came in accommodation and food services. There were 448 claims filed in June 2013. The labor force decreased by 895 to 65,858 from 66,753 in May. Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 6.3 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 10.4 percent.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for June was 7.4 percent, up from 7.2 percent in April. The rate was 8.4 percent in May a year ago. Local area unemployment data are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at www.gdol.ga.gov Connect with us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter @GeorgiaDOL. You can access all pages via our website at www.gdol.ga.gov

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Dennis Prager explains the The Middle East Conflict

Dennis Prager is heard Monday-Friday 9 pm- 1 am  on Talk 92.1
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