Aldermen OK $18M budget

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 23, 2001

VIDALIA – The Vidalia Board of Aldermen on Friday evening approved a more than $18 million budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The budget, which was passed without comment from town officials or the public, projects $18,037,922 in revenues from taxes, licenses and permits, fines, grants and charges for services.

It also projects spending $17,914,342 on such things as town services, materials, buildings and equipment. That is a far cry from the current fiscal year, when spending has exceeded revenues by $2,711,212.

Also in Friday’s special meeting, aldermen passed a resolution pledging that the town would use any excess revenues to pay off a $3.8 million loan from Concordia Bank. &uot;Excess revenues&uot;&160;includes any revenues above the amount budgeted.

&uot;We would do that anyway,&uot; said Town Attorney Jack McLemore Jr., referring to paying off the loan as soon as possible. &uot;That is just something the bank wants.&uot;

In other business, the board discussed the need to ban fundraising roadblocks inside the town limits.

On several occasions, people standing in the middle of busy Carter Street to collect money for causes have nearly been run over by passing vehicles, town officials said. Cars stopping to give money have also caused near-collisions.

&uot;It’s been an act of God that somebody hasn’t been hurt,&uot; said Alderwoman Maureen &uot;Mo&uot; Saunders. The bottom line is that if someone is injured due to a roadblock, the town could be sued, McLemore said.

So while town officials said they understand the need for causes to raise money, aldermen voted to place a moratorium on roadblocks until the board’s July 10 meeting, when they will discuss the issue further.

During the meeting, Mayor Hyram Copeland announced that on Thursday, the town accepted a $988,000 bid from Edgin Construction for the second phase of the Vidalia Landing riverfront development.

That phase will include a fountain plaza, bathrooms and piers.

The board also approved the following appointments:

4McLemore as city attorney.

4Vicki Byrnes as city clerk and tax collector.

4Fay Garretson as assistant city clerk and manager of Town Hall offices.

4The Concordia Sentinel as the parish’s official journal.

4Vernon Stevens as mayor pro tempore and alderman in charge of Town Hall offices.

4Guy Thompson as utility supervisor and Maureen Sanders as alderwoman in charge of utilities.

4Roy Reyes as street supervisor, replacing Huey Richmond, who recently retired from the post. Carter Warner will serve as alderman in charge of streets.

4Jack Langston as fire chief and Ricky Knapp as alderman in charge of the fire department.

4Jon Betts as alderman in charge of the police department. Billy Hammers, the town’s police chief, is elected.