Vidalia to discuss borrowing money to keep city government operating

Published 10:30 pm Sunday, July 17, 2016

VIDALIA — The Vidalia mayor and board of aldermen will meet this week to discuss the possibility of borrowing money to keep the city government operating.

Mayor Buz Craft said the 5 p.m. Tuesday meeting will be to consider getting permission to go before the state bond commission to borrow funds “for day-to-day operations” and to bring the town into compliance with its own ordinances.

Craft cited the ordinance governing the use of hydroelectric royalties generated by the Sydney A. Murray Jr. Hydroelectric Station — which requires the town to maintain a reserve fund for certain costs associated with the station — as one of the ordinances with which the town needs to return to compliance.

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Vendors also need to be paid, he said.

Craft declined to share any numbers of how much might need to be borrowed, saying city officials are “still in the process of coming up with figures,” but that, “all that information will be forthcoming in that meeting.”

The town closed out the 2015-2016 fiscal year — which ended June 30 — with a $4.9 million deficit on its $37.3 million budget, a 13 percent gap between spending and revenues.

The current city administration took office July 1.

Craft said the city administration would be happy to answer any questions that are put forward at the meeting.

“This is really, in all essence, the starting of our 14th day on the job, so we are making a lot of progress,” Craft said. “This is not something that we can’t overcome, however, this is necessary. It does require us having a meeting and informing the people where we stand and where we need to move.”