The Vidalia Town Council adopted a $34.6 million budget during a special meeting Thursday, May 30, that includes a projected surplus of $2.3 million and a three percent raise for employees
Aldermen approved Mayor Buz Craft’s proposed fiscal year budget ending June 30, 2020, on a 4-1 count with Tommy Probst casting the lone nay vote. Supporting the budget were Robert Gardner, Jon Betts, Tron McCoy and Sabrina Doré.
Two changes were made before final adoption – an additional $106,000 was added to the police department budget to cover overtime, while funding for street upgrades was upped $500,000 to $1.2 million.
Craft said the budget was the result of “three years of hard work.” He said operational costs have decreased every year since he took office.
“This is a good budget,” he said. “The town should be proud.”
Doré, who said the mayor had done a “great job” on the budget, suggested raising the funding for street work due to the unknown expenses that may come when this year’s high water from the Mississippi goes down. She said that if the additional money isn’t needed it won’t be spent but if it is needed the aldermen won’t have to amend the budget.
McCoy, Probst and Gardner also expressed concern over getting street work done.
Police Chief Joey Merrill, who said the proposed funding for the next fiscal year for his department would be less than the present year, was satisfied when the council agreed to provide an additional $106,000.
He said the department employes 34.
“People live here because it’s safe,” he said, noting that there have been no traffic fatalities for the past three years.
Probst offered the motion to add the additional funding.
Only two people spoke during the public hearing held before the regular meeting.