Vidalia project is pure speculation

Published 12:22 am Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The next apparent move City of Vidalia leaders expect to make on the Square on Carter project seems to underline the very problem at the core of the project itself — a basis in speculation.

Vidalia was seeking permission to borrow up to $7 million for the purchase and development of approximately 65 acres in hopes of wooing developers to lease or purchase the land.

The Louisiana State Bond Commission, which thankfully has a say in the matter of municipalities taking on debt, balked at the idea.

Email newsletter signup

Town leaders persisted and repacked the deal again seeking approval. The problem is you put lipstick and perfume on a pig but the swine beneath doesn’t go away.

Bond commission members sought a more definitive legal opinion, seeking advice from the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. The AG determined that, as planned, the town should not be allowed to borrow money for the Square on Carter project. Doing so, the AG’s office determined, would violate state laws prohibiting public funds for private enterprise.

Sadly, some leaders with the City of Vidalia arrogantly believe they know better and have vowed to march the idea forward again soon.

Vidalia’s economic developer, Heather Malone, suggested the process has been affected by politics and suggested Vidalia hoped to receive a more favorable opinion from a new, incoming attorney general.

We wish the city’s leaders would realize that until it can produce signed documents showing it has investors and developers willing to back the project, the Square on Carter needs to be considered a speculative dream and not a viable, public project.