Loophole or not, Vidalia move stinks

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 16, 2015

Stunningly, four Vidalia aldermen did something Tuesday that, while perhaps legal, certainly seems disingenuous — they wore two hats at the same meeting.

Aldermen stopped their regular board meeting, reconvened as the Carter Street No. 1 Development District and voted again to seek state permission to borrow $7 million.

The maneuver theoretically will move the Square on Carter project back to the Louisiana State Bond Commission, where one commission member previously dubbed it as land speculation.

Email newsletter signup

The plan calls for Vidalia to borrow $7 million to purchase land and improve the infrastructure of what will largely be a private development.

The bond commission delayed a decision on the original proposal in May after questions of whether the development was legal arose.

Later, the state attorney general suggested the city’s application wouldn’t meet state constitutional guidelines requiring projects to have public purpose.

Vidalia and its hired legal team clearly feel they’ve found a loophole or the ability to change the project enough to allow the plan to proceed.

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland and the four aldermen who seem to march in lockstep apparently will not stop until they get what they want.

The question Copeland and the four aldermen should be asking: Is this project really what the people who elected them want and need or is it just a personal project they’re hoping to shove through before the next election?

If the matter were put to a public vote, we’d venture to guess the Square on Carter would go down in flames — as quickly as the aldermen flip-flopped hats Tuesday night.