‘Getting into the Christmas Spirit,’ Vidalia mailing out $2.5 million worth of checks to utility customers next week

Published 1:14 pm Wednesday, November 10, 2021

VIDALIA — Christmas is coming early in the Town of Vidalia as Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft announced Tuesday that a little more than $2.5 million worth of checks would be mailed out to the town’s utility customers early next week.

The funds are generated by the royalty revenues from the Sidney A. Murray Jr. Hydroelectric Station, also known as Louisiana Hydroelectric. The Vidalia Board of Aldermen approved gifting part of the revenue generated from the sale of electricity between July 1, 2020, and July 30, 2021, in the form of rebates for utility customers in mid-September.

The town has received annual royalties on utility sales since the plant went online in 1990 and town leaders have the option to refund up to 50 percent of utility customers’ bills with the annual royalties.

“The checks will probably be generated first of next week,” Craft said. “Anyone that has a balance on their account, the balance of the check would offset that and the remaining balance will be mailed out to them. People are going to be very pleased when they get their mail, I promise you. I’m looking forward to everyone getting into the Christmas and Thanksgiving spirit a little early.”

In other matters during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Vidalia Mayor and Board of Aldermen, the board received bids for street work and for a new ambulance and accepted the lowest cost bid on each.

Bids for street work on Miranda and Simonton drives were as follows: TL Construction of Alexandria, La., for $357,862.60; W E Blain & Sons Inc. of Mt. Olive for $374,685.70 and D & J Construction Company of West Monroe, La., for $441,087.

The board accepted the bid of TL Construction of Alexandria, La., for $357,862.60 for a street project that was estimated to cost approximately $309,000.

The town budgeted $500,000 for the projects and recently approved another $400,000 for streets, which leaves approximately $600,000 additional money for more streets, Craft said.

“We have identified those and graded our streets,” Craft said, adding anyone with concerns about their street is welcome to visit with him or Streets and Sanitation Supervisor Lee Staggs at Town Hall.

“We will be glad to discuss the streets and which ones that are going to be looked at next,” he said. “… We will be glad to listen to anyone who has a need on their street and we can do some point repair too.”

The board also received bids for a new ambulance from Frazer of Houston, Texas, for $227,202 and from Arrow Ambulances of Rock Rapids, Iowa, for $285,800.

The board unanimously accepted the bid from Frazer — pending further review of the bid to see that it meets the required specifications of the department — and unanimously approved advertisement for bids for a new garbage truck.

The board also approved occupational licenses for “The Hive,” a new spa service at 4012 Carter  Street owned by Amanda Wheeler; “Mama’s Little Cookie Shack,” a home bakery at 10 Lillian Road owned by John T. Smith; “Generation Lee LLC, an online boutique at 169 Lee Ave. owned by Kaitlyn Calcote; and approved a change of ownership of the Olde River Cleaners at 713 Carter St., now owned by Justin Welch.