Vidalia budget up for approval at meeting today

Published 11:47 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2017


VIDALIA — Vidalia aldermen plan to meet at noon today in hopes of approving a budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft said Wednesday the budget, excluding capital outlay and debt service, would bring expenditures down approximately $5.5 to $5.8 million compared to the previous administration’s 2016-17 budget.

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“We have a good budget,” Craft said. “We feel like we will accomplish things and run the town in an efficient manner.”

Craft said the total of the proposed budget is deceiving as it includes $7.9 million in capital expenditures — $6.8 million of that grant driven and related to the Port of Vidalia. The proposed budget also includes the plan to pay off $1 million in debt service.

The total 2017-18 budget, if approved, would feature  $38,298,075 in expenditures, compared to $37,277,283 in the previous administration’s budget.

Revenues in the proposed budget are $38,958,015, which would potentially put the town’s operation in the black. The prior year’s budget was not balanced, featuring an approximately $4.9 million gap between revenues and expenditures, Craft said.

The mayor said many departments would be trimmed, but one big cut would be personnel services. The previous administration’s personnel services budget was approximately $11.4 million compared to approximately $9.7 million in the proposed budget.

“I am very pleased with what we have to present,” Craft said. “I hope the aldermen are on board with it.”

Craft said he encouraged residents to show up at noon today at town chambers at the Vidalia Municipal Complex.

“I think we are headed in the right direction for getting the town in good shape,” Craft said. “I am encouraged by the hard work done by not only the administration but also some of the aldermen who participated — two or three of them were involved.

“I am excited about it and hope we are able to approve it.”

After three tries, the board was able to unanimously approve an amended 2016-17 budget to replace the previous administration’s budget in May. The new administration’s operating budget for the 16-17 budget featured revenues at approximately $36.1 million and expenditures at approximately $34.6 million.