Vidalia to revive defunct commissions?

Published 12:01 am Sunday, November 20, 2016

VIDALIA — The town’s various commissions and committees have been defunct for years, but the Vidalia Board of Aldermen plan to revive the entities by January.

The volunteer boards include the Riverfront Authority, Port Commission, Planning Commission and the Variance Committee.

Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft said in order to be in compliance with the town’s own ordinances, the committees need to be brought back. But also if the entities are populated by the right people, committees can be a boon for the town.

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“If we get people into commissions that match their expertise or they are passionate citizens, I think it would be good to have other people in the community with a voice,” Craft said. “On the other hand, if you have people in place that don’t care and never show up, there is no sense in having them.”

Alderwoman Sabrina Doré said in her research of the town’s ordinances, she noticed the town was out of compliance and suggested having people in place by December so the boards could begin meeting in January.

Doré said she hoped each alderman could get one person per district so the town will be represented by a fairly diverse group of people.

The town plans to reach out to people whose terms have long expired on the various boards and poll their interest in continuing to serve, Craft said. Craft said officials would also reach out to the business community and in other areas where people might have expertise.

Craft said residents interested in serving the community could also contact City Hall at 318-336-5206 and volunteer.

Projects including the Square on Carter — proposed under a previous administration — are what Craft said were the undoing of the commissions.

Square on Carter was a $7 million development project the Louisiana Attorney General Office claimed could lead to state constitutional violations.

The hope was if the town purchased land across Carter Street from Walmart and development started, private developers would buy in.

“People of Vidalia, if they had been given an opportunity to get involved with projects like that, they would have been against it,” Craft said.