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|Utility rate reduction of 12 percent in store for Vidalia residents, businesses|
With what seems like only negative news nationwide, the City of Vidalia was able to pass on some good news to utility customers Tuesday night at the city meeting.
City Manager Ken Walker announced a 12 percent across-the-board reduction in utility rates beginning with the next billing cycle.
"We got our bill Monday from LEPA (Louisiana Energy and Power Authority) and our costs went down," said Walker. "We are passing it on."
"This is a tremendous situation for our customers," said Mayor Hyram Copeland. "We tried to do the best we could last summer."
City utility customers saw a 20 percent increase in billing over the summer months.
Copeland said the town actually saw a 73 percent increase and absorbed as much of the cost as they could.
The board also adopted millage for tax year 2008 at 3.49, the same as in previous years.
"The millage is the same and that is the lowest in the state for a municipality this size," said Copeland. "We are proud to keep it at 3.49."
Alderman Ricky Knapp questioned the designation of Apple Street being listed in a flood zone. Both Apple and Palm Street are listed in the zone requiring residents to purchase flood insurance.
Copeland and city attorney Jack McLemore explained that it is an "impossible situation."
McLemore said that changes in the flood zone map is a long and detailed process and that the area in question is controlled by pumping stations -- requiring that it be listed in a flood zone.
Copeland also said that they have explored many avenues with government officials and it cannot be changed.
Alderman Vernon Stevens requested that a resolution be drafted honoring Logan Sewell who died Monday.
"He was a builder of our community," said Copeland agreeing that the measure would be taken.
Copeland also announced that first phase work on the $345 million marina, just south of the bridge, has begun.
The following licenses were approved:
-Occupational: OReilly Automotive Inc., 1903 Carter St.
-Occupational: Regaso's Car Wash and Auto Detailing, 410 Carter.
-Occupational/Sign: Kingridge Enterprises Inc., 4006 Carter St.
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