Aldermen

VIDALIA ALDERMEN Jon Betts, Rosa Demby and Brent Smith look over the proposed fiscal budget in Tuesday’s meeting. (Sentinel photo by Joe Curtis)

Vidalia’s annual fiscal budget will include a five percent raise, money for a fire truck and infrastructure improvements.

Aldermen passed the town’s fiscal plan Tuesday night at their regular June meeting.

Vidalia’s budget normally follows suit with past budgets, but this year the budget did feature some different items.

“Usually, the operating budget follows the same things we have done for the last five years with the exception of some capital outlay issues,” said Mayor Buz Craft. “We want to do across-the-board raise for employees.”

The five-percent raise is for all employees, including elected officials. Along with the pay bump, full-time employees will receive a $1,050 retention payment which will come out of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Rising costs due to high inflation was the reasoning behind the raise.

Aldermen also agreed to take a portion of ARPA funds and help with Vidalia resident’s utility costs for three months during the summer. Utility costs are expected to rise dramatically this summer, putting a burden on people’s pocketbook.

During budget discussions, each department head explained to aldermen his needs.

The street department requested $12,000 worth of repairs to their street sweeper while waiting on a new street sweeper which could take up to a year to receive.

The fire department requested a $140,000 fire truck. The fire department also requested battery operated smoke expulsion fans and jaws of life.

The police department requested to finish the interior of its training facility and more vehicles. The police force is getting four new patrollers from the previous budget, but there is a waiting period of nearly one year for vehicle orders.

IT department introduced a three-year project to replace all computers, requested money to upgrade Vidalia’s servers and requested money for the continuation of fiber optic construction.

Riverfront area requested money to rehabilitate its facilities, including new security cameras, lights, pressure washing the riverwalk and repairs to the center. 

“It’s going to be pretty costly,” Craft said. “But, occupational taxes come in from the hotels and that money is used to keep up the riverfront. We got $400,000 in (the occupational tax fund) to pull from to maintain the riverfront. This is what we want to do this year. We want to get the riverfront back up to speed.”

Water department requested $619,000 for expansion of its water plant, $400,000 sewer aerator system and $60,000 to replace Murray Drive lift station.

The water plant expansion could be funded by a Water Sector Commission grant, a state program in which local Senator Glen Womack is a board member.

Included in the budget is the money for overlaying several Vidalia streets, including Lee, Dotson, North Magnolia and Plum streets. Also the turning area of Dogwood Street will be over layed.

Additionally, aldermen approved occupational licenses to Crawdaddy’s, Seven Food Mart 3 LLC, Jerry’s Donuts and Parilla Restaurant.

Aldermen also approved a sign application for Marling Surveying.

Upcoming events

The following Vidalia events were also announced at the meeting.

The July 4th Flea Market will be held at the Amphitheater on the Vidalia Riverfront.

Application deadline is Friday, June 24. Registration will be Saturday, July 2, from 8:00 a.m. until noon. If this does not work with your schedule, please call (601) 870-5679 for other options.

Email: rfleming@vidaliaconventioncenter.com, or applications may be found at vidaliaconventioncenter.com

The flea market will open July 2 from noon until 10 p.m., July 3 from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. and July 4 from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.

A community fun day will be held June 25.

Bring your  lawn chairs, grills, boilers, fryers, tents, fishing poles and have a good time.

At the event, there will also be:

7 on 7 football tournament: $35/team 

3 on 3 basketball tournament $15/team

Registration begins May 25, ends June 11.

Vendors are welcome and applications are available cityofvidaliala.com under the events tab. For more information or information on ways to volunteer contact Piara Wilson at 336-5206 or pwilson@cityofvidalia.com

The Farmers Market is open and will be open every Wednesday weather permitting from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. until the first frost. 

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