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Negotiations for an operator for the Vidalia port terminal are underway and the $8.7 million conveyor project is near completion.

Port director Wyly Gilfoil said once punch list items are finished, the present project will be completed and the port will be operational.

The Vidalia Board of Aldermen approved a resolution at its regular meeting Tuesday night accepting that the contract between Womack & Sons and the town for project construction has been successfully completed.

Aldermen also agreed to appoint a committee to review and revise the town’s existing ordinance relating to outdoor signage. Committee members will include aldermen Jon Betts and Tommy Probst as well as Mayor Buz Craft, town attorney George Murray and town clerk Jay LaSyone.

Betts said present guidelines concerning outdoor signage are not fair to everyone and that more attention needed to be paid to details.

On another matter, aldermen approved a resolution to provide reclaimed asphalt to upgrade a road for the Vidalia Cemetery Association after researching whether the donation is legal.

In other business, aldermen approved a resolution to purchase two signs that register the speed of cars passing by and also has cameras that take photos of license plates.

Police Chief Joey Merrill said the signs would not be used to write speeding tickets but instead to make drivers mindful of their speed.

Additionally, Mayor Buz Craft said the identification of license tags on cars will allow officers and other police agencies to find a criminal suspect in flight and or be used in similar cases.

The cost of a sign is $25,000.

Merrill said the town has qualified for a grant to purchase two signs.

Craft said the town’s cost would be $6,600.

Also, at the meeting, town accountant Debra Moak presented financial statements for four months ending Oct. 31.

Figures for four accounts were as follows:

General Fund: $698,268, actual year-to-date revenue; $3,073,289, actual year-to-date expense; $2,375,021, net profit; $2,274,095, transfers; and -$100,926, net change in fund balance.

Special Revenue Fund: $5,630,934, actual year-to-date revenue; $5,216,459, actual year-to-date expense; $414,478, net profit; -$1,535,493, transfers; and -$1,121,018, net change in fund balance.

Enterprise Fund: $4,221,048, actual year-to-date fund revenue; $3,764,932, actual year-to-date expense; $456,115, net profit; -$973,775, transfers; and -$517,639, net change in fund balance.

Government Wide: $277,377, actual year-to-date revenue: $521,833, actual year-to-date expense; -$244,456, net profit; $235,154, transfers; and -$9,302, net change in fund balance.

Net change in net assets: ($1,748,886).

Moak also noted that $1.28 million in rebates from hydroelectric royalties were mailed Nov. 16.

The board also approved liquor and beer applications for 2021.

Liquor & Beer: D.K. Food Mart, McDonough’s Liquor, Clarion Suites, Papa T’s, La Parrilla, Danny’s Restaurant & Lounge, Tobacco Mart, Hammer’s Drive-Thru, B-Kwik #7, Victory Marketing LLC-Sprint Mart #72, Victory Marketing LLC-Spring Mart #67, Rainbow Quick Stop LLC, Walmart, Murphy’s Oil USA Inc., El Ranchero Mexican Restaurant, Claws, Craws & Tails and Dollar General.

Beer Only: Johnny’s Pizza, Vidalia Market and BB’s Fish Fry.

In other action, aldermen:

Agreed to hire Delmarcus Johnson as a full time patrol office for the Vidalia Police Department and Angelina Johnson as a part-time dispatcher to be called as needed. Aldermen Tommy Probst and Robert Gardner opposed the hiring while Jon Betts, Rosa Demby and Brent Smith supported the hiring.

Approved a resolution to award the bid for three protective relay panels for the new substation to Keystone Electrical totaling $48,841.51 and authorized the mayor to execute documents related to the project.

Approved an occupational license for Coolinary, LLC (Shannon Cooley), Special Food and Crafts.

Approved a resolution to perform necessary repairs to Water Well No. 1.

Heard a report from the mayor on the operation of LEPA (Louisiana Energy & Power Authority) Unit No. 1. Craft said the plant at Morgan City had a turbine go down, while other issues are also being viewed. Craft said the town has a bond obligation of approximately $1.2 million per year in notes and expenses to LEPA. The town owns 10.3 percent of the plant.

Craft said litigation is likely forthcoming.

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