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Vidalia changes meeting procedures

VIDALIA — The Vidalia Board of Aldermen voted at Tuesday’s meeting to conduct its meetings more by the book.

Citizens can currently show up at the 6 p.m. meetings every second and fourth Tuesday of the month and be given the floor to air a grievance or bring up an issue — no questions asked.

But starting April 1, citizens must give 36-hours notice about the issue they wish to discuss.

Vidalia City Attorney Jack McLemore said the purpose of the three-day notice is to allow the board or city employees to prepare themselves with a response or collect information to address the issue.

Alderman Triand “Tron” McCoy said he was concerned the 36-hour window might hinder citizens who have a late-breaking issue.

“I don’t want to handicap our citizens,” McCoy said.

McLemore said if the board adopts the resolution, aldermen would still have an opportunity to amend the agenda at any point during the meeting to include a citizen’s comments.

If a citizen misses the 36-hour window, he or she can contact their alderman to be added to the agenda, McLemore said.

McLemore said requiring advance notice to speak at a meeting was a procedural measure to make meetings run smoothly. Concordia Parish School board and the Police Jury have always required advanced notice from members of the public who want to speak, McLemore said.

In other business at Tuesdays meeting:

4 McCoy asked the board to name Cassandra Lynch the chairperson of the official Vidalia Mardi Gras parade.

“She took 45 days to put it together, and we had a great parade,” McCoy said.

The board voted unanimously to make Lynch the parade’s chairperson for the following years.

4 The board approved the application for grant funds from LHWA Recreation Trails Program.

Grant Coordinator Teresa Dennis the 250,000 grant includes an 80 percent federal and 20 percent local match and will be used to construct a trail around the city park.

4 The board granted the following occupational licenses and sign applications:

4 Natchez Coffee Company 102 Front St., Vidalia

4 Continental, 605 Carter St.

4 Camellia Hospice of East Louisiana LLC, 4004 Carter St., W.A. Payne III.

4The board granted a liquor and beer permit for Murphy Oil USA Inc., 4007 Carter St.

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