Vidalia electric customers will receive hefty hydroelectric royalty fund rebates in the weeks ahead while a town beautification project has been approved as well.

Mayor Buz Craft announced at the monthly board of aldermen meeting Tuesday night that a retail electric customer in town will receive on average a rebate of up to 50 percent of what the consumer paid for electricity during the past year.

Craft said the hydroelectric reserve funds earmarked for customer rebates total $2.5 million this year compared to $1.2 million the year before.

He said the town has paid $5.1 million in rebates over the past five years.

Craft also recognized former Town Manager Bill Murray, whose father, the late Sidney Murray, pushed for the construction of the hydroelectric plant during his tenure as mayor.

Bill Murray thanked the current administration for providing the rebates, which he said were part of Sidney Murray’s long-range plan to benefit town citizens through the hydro plant constructed along the Mississippi River.

“He was all about the people of Vidalia,” Murray said of his father.

“This is a good night for Vidalia,” Craft said.

Approximately $250,000 of hydro funds were also earmarked for a beautification project proposed by the Vidalia Garden Club and the Vidalia Beautification Committee. The overall project will include three areas of town -- the riverfront, old courthouse and Carter Street.

Aldermen Tommy Probst said other projects, such as security cameras for neighborhoods, had been discussed but were not considered at the meeting.

Aldermen Robert Gardner said he agreed with Probst and felt there were previous priority projects mentioned in the past but that the mayor had made the beautification project as the top priority.

On the vote, Jon Betts and Rosa Demby supported the beautification project funding, but Probst and Sanders voted against. Aldermen Brent Smith was absent from the meeting.

Craft then broke the tie, supporting the project.

In other action, aldermen:

Approved a request for proposal for Advanced Metering Infrastructure System with Aquametric Inc.

Approved a master equity lease agreement with Enterprise Fleet Management.

Heard an announcement from the mayor that the Vidalia Animal Shelter has passed all state inspections.

Named Bryant Hammett & Associates to provide all professional services related to the Louisiana Water Sector Program concerning a grant the town is seeking to upgrade and improve its sewer system.

Approved occupational licenses for MissLou Ent and Allergy, Pizza Hut (change of ownership), Delta Hydro Cleaning LLC, T-Time Nutrition and Terral River Service Inc.

Approved outdoor sign applications for Terral River Service Inc. and T-Time Nutrition.

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