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Vidalia utility customers to get rebate checks

VIDALIA — Approximately $1.28 million in excess hydroelectric revenue will be distributed to Vidalia’s utility customers after the Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved a motion to that effect at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting.

The rebate amount is calculated based on the total royalties after other expenses are taken out, said Buz Craft, Vidalia mayor.

Craft said the town paid approximately $8.6 million for power and collected nearly $14 million in royalties, leaving an excess amount of revenue to be dispersed back in approximately 2,000 checks to Vidalia utility customers throughout the town. Amounts will be based on the customers’ kilowatt usage.

“This is the largest rebate ever paid,” Craft said.

A motion made by alderman Tommy Probst and seconded by Alderman Brent Smith passed unanimously to set the rebate amount at $1.28 million.

In other matters during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Vidalia Mayor and Board of Aldermen, the board:

* Discussed the status of the town’s landfill contract with Riverbend Environmental Services LLC, which filed bankruptcy in October 2019. Officials said Vidalia’s contract for using the landfill at a rate of $15 per ton would still stand until Sept. 30, 2023, once the landfill sells to Greenway Environmental — another company that intends to purchase the landfill.

* Discussed the improvement of the town’s fire rating from a Level 3 to a Level 2, which should lower the cost of insurance for the town’s property owners.

* Awarded bids for a transformer box at the town’s electric substation for $582,000 and for contracted work at the substation to Wilmar Construction for $43,300.

* Discussed staffing at the Vidalia Police Department. Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill said the department is designed to operate at full strength with 36 officers and is currently operating with 33 officers.