New Vidalia Downtown Development Authority Holds Initial Meeting
Vidalia is reestablishing its Downtown Development Authority in an attempt to continue the improvement of the downtown area that began with the revitalization of businesses including the Pal Theatre. The City wants to be proactive in preserving downtown and to continue to make it relevant to the community. “There is so much history and opportunity in Downtown Vidalia, and I look forward to seeing the Authority continue to bring this area back to life,” said Mayor Doug Roper. Vidalia’s previous Development Authority originated in 1981 but became inactive over the years. The new DDA held an organizational session on August 5 at the Vidalia Municipal Annex. City Manager Nick Overstreet explained to those attending the organizational session that the current DDA will exist to: redevelop and revitalize the area through the purchase of property, issue bonds, issue promissory notes, and assist in creating opportunity zones. These are unique powers because the city government does not have the ability to issue bonds and promissory notes; also, the creation of zones promotes taxing opportunities to gain revenue for DDA projects. During the initial meeting, the DDA adopted a set of by-laws modeled after the Valdosta Downtown Development Authority by-laws. City Attorney Justin Franklin shared that once he received these laws, he “reviewed them and adopted them to fit the needs of the city of Vidalia.” The DDA chair, vice chair, and secretary were elected during the meeting, but according to the adopted by-laws, City of Vidalia Financial Director Amy Murray will serve as the treasurer. Brian Frederick, longtime Vice President of Altamaha Bank & Trust, was elected chairman and Vidalia City Councilwoman Jennifer Evans was elected vice chair with the stipulation that she may only hold this position while in office as a City Council representative. Toombs County High School Instructional Coach Brandi Anthony will serve as secretary.
Upon the DDA officers’ elections, the Authority ended the meeting through the unanimous approval of the adaptation of several governing provisions: the acceptance of the resolution to establish the DDA; the creation of the official DDA record book, which will hold all by-laws and other information; the official commencement of business; the organizational expenses provisions (there are currently no expenses but basics must be established to properly form the DDA); the acceptance of establishing the bank account; and the acceptance of the fiscal year as the calendar year. After the initial meeting and creation of the DDA, the first official meeting took place where the board members went into executive session to discuss real estate. The DDA will meet once a quarter in the annex unless business issues require meeting more often. The next meeting will be held during the second week of September.