Vidalia City Council Hears Plea for Safety at Raymonia Apartments
A resident of Raymonia Apartments complained to the Vidalia City Council at its March 8 session about deplorable living conditions and safety issues at the apartment complex. The complainant said that repairs are broken again in a short time, trash is strewn, and the black mold in her apartment was the cause of her cancer for which she has had several chemotherapy treatments. She said in her recovery she is ready to live in a safe environment with no driveby violence.
The resident has contacted the apartment company for two years for help with her apartment and has not received answers. She said she will continue to attend Council meetings and speak out until her apartment is fixed and the environment is safe at Raymonia.
Councilman Raymond Turner said the description is true and attempts to contact management have failed. “We need to contact HUD, too, because there are Section 8 houses there (some or all of the rents are based on tenant incomes) and management has turned a deaf ear. She is stating the truth because the area is in bad shape.”
Mayor Doug Roper asked the resident to leave the photos of the conditions that she brought to the meeting. He thanked the citizen and said the Council will discuss the issue.
Downtown Vidalia Association (DVA) Director Tonya Parker reported that the 3rd annual Sweeten Your Ride will be Friday and Saturday, March 26 and 27, as a drive-through event located in the vacant lot across from Palmer’s Furniture. This sale of $10 window decals raises money for a local need and encourages support for Vidalia Onion Festival and the onion season. SafeKids Toombs car seat program, managed by VFD Capt. Robert Tillman, will receive the funds from this year’s event. Vidalia Convention & Visitors Bureau (VCVB) Director Alexa Britton reported for the Pal Theater. Since the grant request for lights for the Pal was submitted, the cost and shipping has risen. Britton has searched for good current pricing; thus, the project was delayed, but the new light board, snake lighting and outlets are ready to be installed. Rentals for the Pal are increasing. Managing the showing of movies along with event rentals will have to be addressed. The PAL website is under construction.
Michelle Johnson, Director of the Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce reported that in order to provide relief to local restaurants and merchants during the pandemic down time, the Chamber has been working to promote Chamber Bucks that are used at businesses throughout the area. To date this year, $25,000 in Bucks have been sold. This amount multiplies in purchases that go back into the local economy. Johnson bragged on three industries that were major purchasers of the Bucks: Chicken of the Sea, Trane and Meadows Health. Johnson hopes industries will be encouraged to continue this practice.
Johnson also shared that, “The Development Authority has an active economic development agreement with DOT Foods as of 2016.” In DOT’s 2020 annual report for this agreement, “Dot Foods has demonstrated job creation of 388, against the goal of 308, putting them at 126% of their job goal. Annual payroll is $18.3 billion, which is over $47,000 per employee. The general rule for distribution jobs like DOT is that for every one they employ, four more jobs are created. So technically, that company has an economic impact in our region of 600 jobs.”
DOT is also a “company committed to community and corporate giving by allowing their employees to go out and participate and donate in the community.” Johnson wants everyone to thank industry management that encourages active community participation.
Drivers in Vidalia will need to be aware of six cross roads that will have new stop signs. City Manager Nick Overstreet reported for the Street and Sanitation Committee regarding placement of requested stop signs at six locations. The Council approved stop sign placements at Morris and 5th Avenue, Roosevelt Street and 10th Street, Roosevelt & 12th Street, 2nd Avenue & Schumpert Street, and a 3-way stop at Morris and Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue.
Two requests for purchases from general funds utilizing Safe School Fines (RedSpeed) Revenue for use by the police department were presented by Overstreet. A full digital radio system of 19 mobile radios, 26 portable radios and relocation of the radio tower to a more centralized place can be installed for $64,259.00. This quote is from Hub Electronics of Vidalia. This purchase was approved.
The purchase of four preowned vehicles from Woody Folsom Dodge of Vidalia for a total $67,496.00, and emergency equipment for up to $12,000.00, for a total of up to $79,496.00 for the Investigative Services Division was also approved.
These department heads gave reports about their activity in the past month: Brian Sikes, Fire Chief; Brian Scott, Police Commissioner; Tony Hall, ESG Project Manager; Scott Strickland, Interim Recreation Director; Billy Ragan, Airport Manager; and Shaun Oliver, City Marshal.
In further Council business, the appointment of Garrett Wilcox to the Vidalia Development Authority to fulfill the unexpired term of Sam Polk through December 2022 was approved. Also, Billy Goodwin was approved to replace Jay Howard on the Vidalia Onion Committee.
Two issuances of alcohol licenses for on-premise consumption were approved. For beer and wine consumption during the Friday and Saturday of the Onion Festival, the licenses for each day to The Vidalia Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and its Director Alexa Britton was granted. Also, to the Centenario Mexican Grill, the on-premises consumption of liquor, beer and wine license was granted.
The call to order of the March Vidalia City Council meeting included the reestablishment of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Johnny Johnson was called upon by Mayor Doug Roper to give the invocation and to lead the City officials and citizens in the pledge.