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Overgrown lots in Vidalia face $450 fine

VIDALIA — Some Vidalia residents will be dealing with a $450 fine for uncut grass starting today.

The Vidalia Board of Aldermen agreed Tuesday evening that fining residents with unmanaged lots is the best formula to reduce the mosquito and pest population in the city.

The owner of any lot that is not up to city code will receive a letter. Once the letter is sent and the owner does not manage their lot, the city will mow the grass for the owner at $150 per hour with a three-hour minimum.

“It’s gotten out of hand,” Mayor Hyram Copeland said. “Most of those are for folks that don’t live in Vidalia, they live elsewhere, and we just can’t get their attention.”

The cost of the work would be placed on the property owner’s tax roll.

“I got three calls today pertaining to lots,” Copeland said. “About mosquitoes and snakes coming out and how kids can’t play.”

The board members also asked the public to help control the mosquito population by tilting over anything that can hold water so mosquitoes don’t nest there.

The board members also discussed other maintenance issues such as new signs, cleaning up signs and removing abandoned cars in town.

In other news from the meeting:

-The board members also discussed developing business on Carter Street by offering incentives to businesses wanting to develop in the area across from Vidalia Walmart.

Copeland said that this development would not impact what Vidalia residents will pay, but give a lower tax rate to any business that develops that land.

“This is nothing new,” Copeland said. “This is something we do through Louisiana and all the United States.”

-Vidalia board members also agreed to support Concordia Parish becoming a Work Ready Community.

Work Ready Communities is a program offered by the ACT, Inc., which also produces the college entry examination by the same name.

If Concordia Parish joins the program-standardized test will become available to have work related skills evaluated, Malone said.

The benefits are for companies to see who is skilled enough to move up in the company, and where employees can improve.

The program focuses on developing applied mechanics, locating information, reading for information and soft skills, said Heather Malone, executive director of Concordia Economic Development.

If the proposal goes through Concordia will join Rapides and Avoyelles Parishes in the program.