Town to handle Riverfront finances

Published 11:29 pm Tuesday, October 9, 2007

VIDALIA — The Town of Vidalia will take care of the finances for the Vidalia Riverfront Development District.

So the board of aldermen decided when they approved an intergovernmental agreement at Tuesday’s meeting.

Other than asking how it worked, no one in the audience addressed the agreement.

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Since the board of the development district, a subdivision of the state, is made up of citizens, “they have no way of knowing where to deposit money,” City Attorney Jack McLemore said.

In addition, the district is subject to state audit, he said.

Because the district has no designated manager and no one on the board has the necessary experience, the city will take on bookkeeping responsibilities for the occupational tax money that comes in, McLemore said.

The town recently approved a 6 percent occupational tax for anyone who pays for hotel rooms on the riverfront.

Under the intergovernmental agreement, that money will be put into a special account to be used on the riverfront, McLemore said.

The town will maintain separate records and keep records of the receipts and expenditures.

“It could be used for employees for the convention center or even to buy furniture,” he said.

As is required, the development district approved the intergovernmental agreement at their last meeting, McLemore said.

Comfort Suites, currently the only hotel in the development district, has alleged the new tax, which took effect Oct. 1, was unconstitutional and filed a lawsuit against the city.

In other business:

4The board adopted a 3.49 mils property tax for the fiscal year 2007. The tax level remains the same as it has been for several years.

4The board approved the low bid, roughly $76,000, for roadwork on Palm Street. Blaine Companies submitted the low bid out of two. The engineer’s estimate was roughly $100,000.

Alderman Vernon Stevens expressed concern that the town should supervise the work, since the Concordia Parish Police Jury said they have had problems with the company’s work.

Mayor Hyram Copeland assured him the town would appoint engineers to supervise the work.