Governor’s signature needed for parish funding

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 25, 2004

VIDALIA, La. &045; Although he isn’t quite counting his chickens before they hatch, Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland is hoping the parish will get millions of dollars in state funding for economic devleopment.

That money could help land industries the town has been in talks with recently.

A day after the Louisiana lawmakers signed off on a $17.5 billion budget and a $3.7 billion capital outlay bill &045; both of which contain money for Concordia Parish &045; Copeland was still in a wait-and-see mode.

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That’s because Gov. Kathleen Blanco must still sign the bills.

&uot;And she has a line-item veto,&uot; Copeland said.

The capital outlay bill includes a request for $6.14 million for the Vidalia Industrial Park development, including $500,000 payable directly from the state general fund and the rest in general obligation bonds.

The capital outlay request also states the project would be rounded out by $16.7 million in local, federal and in-kind match funds to be provided in phases.

Ferriday’s Bryant Hammett, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, authored the capital outlay bill.

Copeland said Hammett and state Sen. Noble Ellington feel good about the governor’s signing the bills.

&uot;You never get everything you want,&uot; Copeland said. &uot;Money was extremely tight this year.&uot;

The majority of the money Vidalia was seeking was for economic development and for a new welcome center on the riverfront.

The money for economic development is important to Vidalia this week, Copeland said.

He and other officials are continuing to talk with potential businesses for the industrial park, including one in negotiations this week that would depend on money from the state.

Copeland could not name the industries because of ongoing negotiations.