Customer rebate checks are in the mail

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 22, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; More than $462,000 in rebate checks made possible by revenues from the Louisiana Hydroelectric plant were mailed Wednesday to the town’s electricity customers.

The average residential rebate will be around $90, with some commercial customers receiving several hundred dollars, but rebates will be based on the amount of electricity used.

Households should receive the checks no later than early next week, said Mayor Hyram Copeland.

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The rebates are possible because high Mississippi River levels have meant higher revenues for the plant &045; and, in turn, revenues for Vidalia and Concordia Parish. In fact, $20,000 of the $462,000-plus in rebates will be forwarded to the parish Police Jury.

&uot;I hope this sends a message to residents that this administration cares that their monies are spent properly,&uot; Alderman Jon Betts said at a special meeting of the Board of Aldermen on Wednesday. &uot;Because of proper management, this rebate is possible.&uot;

Many people made the day’s announcement possible, but perhaps none more so than former Vidalia Mayor Sidney Murray.

Murray was instrumental in establishing the plant, which he began planning in the 1970s and which opened at the south tip of Concordia Parish in 1990.

&uot;The people of Vidalia were always in his heart,&uot; said Murray’s daughter, Patricia Lane.

&uot;When I think of how hard he worked on this, I regret he’s not here today,&uot; Copeland said, referring to Murray, who died of cancer last year.

But Copeland said he felt sure that Murray was watching the Wednesday meeting.

There, Copeland and the board presented symbolic checks to residential customer Marjorie Bowman and commercial customer Vidalia Market.

&uot;This shows that for a small town with a big vision, anything is possible,&uot; said Town Attorney Jack McLemore.

Also in Wednesday’s meeting, the board voted to advertise for bids for the lease of port property near the Bunge grain elevator in south Vidalia. Diamond B’s lease on the property has expired.