Jan. 8—VALDOSTA — Valdosta City Council gained a new mayor pro-tem in District 1 Councilwoman Vivian Miller-Cody late Thursday.
With Mayor Pro-Tem Tim Carroll's term ending, Mayor Scott James Matheson opened the floor for nominations.
Miller-Cody was swiftly nominated by District 4 Councilman Eric Howard seconded by District 6 Councilman Andy Gibbs.
With no other nominations to face, Miller-Cody was elected mayor pro-tem.
She brought along her grandson, Samuel Black, and goddaughter Zion Johns to join her as she took her oath of office. She said she wanted them to be a part of this momentous occasion.
City Council also approved the 2021 municipal election results where incumbents District 2 Councilwoman Sandra Tooley, Howard and Gibbs all ran unopposed.
They each took an oath of office, allowing family and friends to join them in the occasion.
City Council awarded a group of Valdosta State University students with letters of recommendation for a "winning presentation" to the city for their social media class.
Stephanie Leas, Rodney McSwain, James Hulsey and Victoria Voorhees were the recipients of the letters, honored for their work with the city's public information office, and Valdosta police and fire departments.
Dr. David Nelson, the professor of the class, has been partnered with the City of Valdosta's public information office for eight years.
This time around, he and Ashlyn Johnson, public information officer, paired the students with the police and fire departments to provide "insightful ideas for reaching citizens who use social media as their primary source of communication."
"We partnered with them to pick their brains and figure out what we could improve upon in our departments," Johnson said.
She said the group's idea for a Q&A video for both departments and their ideas for recruitment campaigns are what led them to win.
All other items but one were approved by City Council. — The Lowndes County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan update was adopted by the city. The update focuses on 10 natural hazards that may affect the local area — flooding, high winds, lightning, wildfires, extreme heat/cold, drought, sinkholes, dam failure, hail and public health emergencies.
It will go into effect February 2022 through February 2027. — A loan for an automatic metering system from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority was amended to allow the city additional time to complete installation and make the final draw.
The meter was set to be finished by May 31, 2021, but labor shortages and difficulty in obtaining endpoints continued to push the timeline further down. — The Valdosta Police Department is receiving a new $39,000 Chevrolet Tahoe to replace a vehicle in its fleet too costly to repair. It was also approved to purchase a total station mapping system for the traffic unit.
Police Chief Leslie Manahan said the current mapping system is 15 years old and uses outdated software costing officers several hours to map a scene and delays in investigations.
The new system was approved for purchase at $27,757 from the Georgia Surveyors Exchange. — Annual contracts for water treatment chemicals for the city utilities department were purchased from six chemical companies.
Chemicals include sulfuric acid, caustic soda, salt, oxygen, F-35 sulphate, 12.5% bleach and 38% sodium bisulfite. — Street selections were approved for the local maintenance and improvement grant program at the Georgia Department of Transportation.
City Engineer Pat Collins said 5.24 miles worth of road was selected, which is valued at $1 million approximately. — Dr. Willie Houseal Drive's name was approved to be modified to Willie Houseal Drive after a letter from Houseal requested the deletion of "Dr." from the name. — City Council postponed a vote to amend the city's current fiscal year budget for the purpose of hiring a part-time executive director for the Valdosta-Lowndes County Land Bank Authority.