The Vidalia Board Alderman adopted a budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 that includes $46.9 million in projected revenue and $36.6 million in anticipated spending.
The adoption followed a public hearing.
During the special meeting held May 27, department heads outlined plans for the new fiscal year and aldermen discussed various aspects of the budget.
An additional $150,000 was added for sidewalk construction, upping the total budget for street improvements to $650,000. This will be paid out of the town’s sales tax fund.
Ad valorem taxes will remain the same,
According to a summary of the budget prepared by Town Accountant Debra Moak, improvements will be built along the river walk to provide spaces for cruise line ships to dock. The town is working with the Louisiana Department of Tourism to seek grants for the work.
Highlights of the budget were presented as follows by the Town Accountant Debra Moak:
Street Department - The street department is requesting to purchase a new backhoe for $100k, one half ton pickup truck for $30k, and a pressure washer for $10k. The backhoe is a carryover from the previous year. A new backhoe would not require as much in maintenance costs. The old backhoe would be kept as a spare. A self-contained, mobile pressure washer is being requested to keep the town's buildings and improvements clean all over town. The pickup truck is a carryover from last year and will be purchased from state contract. No trucks will be traded in since they can be used in other departments.
Police Department - The police department is requesting a new training facility to be located at the shooting range. The total anticipated cost is approximately $30k for a 30 by 40 ft. building with air conditioning. In addition, the police department wants to continue with their fleet rotation by purchasing nine vehicles and replacing nine vehicles. The vehicles will be purchased on a lease to buy option over 48 months. The purchase price of the vehicles, including six Chevrolet Tahoes and three Ford Explorers, is approximately $342,600. This price would include vehicles that are fully equipped with the police packages. In additional seven radios and seven radars are requested for a total cost $31.6k.
Fire Department -The fire department is requesting a service truck in the amount of $25k, workout equipment for the firemen at the firehouse in the amount of $4k and a light bar for $1.5k. The service truck can be new or used but is needed to replace the truck already being used which is in bad condition.
Mechanic- The mechanic shop is requesting an air conditioning reclaim equipment for $5k and a sand blasting cabinet for $2k.
IT Department - The IT Department is requesting a totalcapital outlay amount of $322k. Approximately $6k will be used for video conferencing, $16k for a cable trailer and new sonic wall, and $300k for fiber optic continuation. The town will be searching for broadband grants to help pay this cost. Much of this cost is a continuation from the previous year.
Recreation - The recreational department has a request to purchase a new mower or a small all-terrain utility vehicle for approximately $10k. This request is also a carryover from the previous year.
SPECIAL REVENUE FUND
City Court - The city court is requesting $10k to cover the cost of a new recorder for the city courtroom. The present system is old and needs replacing.
Ambulance -The Ambulance is requesting to add on to the training center at the fire training range on Industrial Park Road. This facility will be used by both the Ambulance and Fire Departments. It is estimated to cost $25k to make the renovations. The Ambulance department is also requesting funds to purchase a $7k mannequin for training purposes.
Sales Tax - The sales tax fund has a $500k carryover from the previous year for roadway improvements needed in the Town of Vidalia. Numerous roads in the town are in need of repair and this money will be available to make these repairs.
Port Construction - The next phase of the port construction includes purchasing real estate and planning and permitting for wetland mitigation. The entire project cost is $3.2M for the real estate purchase and$31Tk for the wetland mitigation. The town would be out approximately $850k.
Convention Center - The convention center needs new LED lighting at an approximate cost of $10k and audio equipment at a cost of $26k. This cost will be funded from sales tax collected from the hotel occupancy tax. These upgrades will make the convention center an attraction for the Town of Vidalia as the town opens up from having been shut down due to covid.
Utility Department - The utility department has requested approximately $352k in capital outlay for all its departments.
The electric department needs a portable air compressor in the amount of $10k, which will be purchased from state surplus, and a Trak loader (skid steer) which will be leased on a month-to-month basis and is included in equipment rental. In addition, the utility department is requesting to purchase, rather than lease, a grapple bucket in the amount of $3.6k, regular 86-lnch bucket for $1.4k, utility pole setting attachment for $llk, and an auger package to dig holes for the utility poles for $4.8k.
The water department is requesting an isolation valve for $6.8k, two VFD's for plant transfer pumps to maintain pressure in the system if tower is off line for a total of $14.1k, replacing an air conditioner at the water plant for $6k, and the engineering costs of $200k for the water plant expansion. The actual expansion is expected to be paid for with grants.
The sewer department is requesting four aerators at a total cost of $40 k and a life station at a cost of $50k.
The gas department Is requesting two gas detectors for $1k and two potential meters at $700 each. Both of these items are included in small tools and equipment in the budget. The gas department is also requesting a snap track line locator for $4.6k.