° empty

Vidalia to keep city sanitation services

VIDALIA — Vidalia residents will see a few extra dollars added to their trash bills in the coming months.

Mayor Hyram Copeland said the city will continue to operate its sanitation department and will raise rates in order to “break even” on costs.

The city considered contracting the work out to save money, but Copeland said feedback from the general public indicates the people of Vidalia want the sanitation department to stay.

“The people want us to keep (it). They’re happy with the service they’re getting,” he said.

Copeland also pointed out that keeping the department means the sanitation employees keep their jobs.

Copeland has said recently that the city lost $275,000 operating the sanitation department last year providing the service to 1,729 households and many of the city’s 286 businesses.

The exact amount the rates will increase has not been determined yet, he said. The rates will increase sometime in the next few months.

Currently, private residences are charged $15.50 monthly for garbage pickup, and the smallest commercial accounts are charged $26 a month.

In other news from the meeting:

-The board formally adopted an ordinance authorizing the city to take out $6 million in taxable hydroelectric bonds.

The board voted in December to take out the bond to cover city expenses until the water level of the Mississippi River goes up and the city can begin collecting royalty funds again from the hydroelectric plant. Low-water levels last year left the power plant unable to operate at full power, cutting out millions of dollars in royalty funds the city anticipated receiving, but didn’t.

The city issued similar bonds in 2001 during a low-water year.