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|Six percent rate cut announced for Vidalia utility customers|
Mayor Hyram Copeland announced today another six percent across-the-board reduction in electric rates for Vidalia continuing the downtrend.
The announcement marks a total of 30 percent in electric rate reductions in less than two years in Vidalia -- 12 percent was announced in October 2008 and 12 percent in April 2007.
"We were able to make the reduction because of decreasing rates from LEPA (Louisiana Energy and Power Authority)," said Copeland. "We were glad to be able to pass the decrease down."
The rate schedule puts the town in line with other municipalities in the low to mid-range.
The six percent decrease will be effective with the next billing cycle for city utility customers.
Meanwhile, at Tuesday night's Town Council meeting, the first steps were taken to make a new municipal complex a reality. The board voted to "start the process."
Mayor Hyram Copeland said they would be meeting with architects Wednesday (today) looking at building a 30,000 sq.-ft. complex on 10 acres to house city hall, the fire department and police department.
He said the project will cost an estimated $3.5 million and will be located on property behind Wal-Mart, next to a recreational complex which is in the planning stage.
Copeland said the property in mind is $17,000 per acre much cheaper than other properties they have looked into costing up to three times more.
"That property is the lowest price available right now," he said. Copeland said he had just spoken with the governor's office about obtaining stimulus funds. He also said the complex could be paid for with sales tax monies which are "holding strong," grant funding, and a USDA long-term grant.
"We will pursue every avenue we can," he said. "We think this is a golden opportunity."
The mayor asked for comments on the project from the public with Police Juror Willie Dunbar questioning drainage. He asked if the proposed site would affect the Concordia Park area which struggles with drainage issues.
"I assure you it will be no problem for the parish," said Copeland. "I want you to tell me what projects the Police Jury has helped us with."
"We will work with you," said Dunbar.
Copeland said the plans call for drainage to be directed in the opposite direction toward the courthouse then over to the city canal.
Other issues handled at the meeting included taking bids under advisement for hurricane debris removal, authorizing the sale of old equipment, and the restructure of employee health insurance coverage into a cafeteria plan.
It was also announced that the Vidalia Riverfront Committee had approved the sale of the riverfront building that formerly housed Lorraine's Restaurant to Virgil Jackson, owner of neighboring Comfort Inn & Suites. Plans are for the building to house a salon, spa and gift shop.
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