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Beck Named Vidalia City Manager

Beck Named  Vidalia City  Manager
Josh Beck
Beck Named  Vidalia City  Manager
Josh Beck

The Vidalia City Council named the next City Manager during their meeting on Monday, May 13, as Josh Beck was approved on a unanimous vote.

“I’m extremely fortunate to call Vidalia home. This city is very dear to me, continued from page

and I am excited about the opportunity to serve it. The people, their hearts, and their pride are what make this community so unique. Vidalia has a tradition of excellence, and I am looking forward to continuing to build on that foundation to ensure our success,” Beck remarked.

A lifelong native of Vidalia, Beck has developed a passion for the community, serving in various roles throughout the area for over 35 years. He credits the citizens of Vidalia for helping shape his faith, character, and family, and emphasized that this position is merely one way which he may further give back to the community.

Beck was declared the sole finalist for the position on April 12, and the decision has since been on the table to allow the public an opportunity to review Beck’s credentials and share any potential concerns regarding Beck’s hiring.

“This has been a long process with a review of over 30 candidates expressing interest in the position,” Mayor Doug Roper shared. “After careful consideration, it was determined that Josh is the best candidate for the position, and we are excited to bring his skill set to the city and broaden his impact on our community. Over his professional career, Josh has accumulated experiences which we think will benefit us all and positively impact the long-term direction of the community we all call home and love.”

Having served as the Vidalia Housing Authority Executive Director for over 10 years, Beck has a lot of experience working with the municipality, and plans to use that knowledge to help navigate him in this new role. He is a Vidalia High School and University of Georgia graduate, and has experience developing master plans for commercial developments, zoning plats, and site plans for residential communities – which he did through his work at Gaskins Engineering in Marietta. Beck has also served as a Community Development and Economic Planning Consultant with the Heart of Georgia Altamaha Regional Commission, and even led the Vidalia Housing Authority to be designated as a High Performer by the overarching government agencies, and secured over $4,900,000 in federal funding for the local Authority.

In addition to this, Beck has participated on numerous community boards and committees both locally and statewide. Yet, when asked his greatest achievement, Beck references his family, as he and his wife Sarah have been married for 20 years and have four children – Mason, Emma, Caleb, and Janie.

“I am eager to work alongside such a great staff at City Hall and the fantastic leaders we have as department heads. They have such an important role in how the city operates; and their work ethic, integrity and dedication they have shown in the past is first class. Their passion and determination to ensure Vidalia is the leading community in the region aligns perfectly with our rich history. To be able to join this team of selfless servants is a privilege and an honor,” Beck commented.

This new hiring will become effective on June 1, which will be Beck’s first day in office.

During the meeting, Council members also learned about the new Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), which Toombs County Emergency Management Agency Director Lynn Moore said will be vital to informing citizens of imminent danger.

According to Moore, the severe weather on May 9 – which produced a tornado that ripped through Vidalia – caught many by surprise, as the current siren system is not efficiently working. Because of this lack of warning, many were unprepared for the dangerous situation and were left scrambling for safety – making the need for an alert system within the city evident.

“Operating the siren system we have now is expensive,” Moore explained. “Another issue is when someone is inside their home with the air conditioning running and other things making noise, sometimes you can’t hear the sirens when they do go off.”

To solve these issues, Moore and the Toombs County EMA are investing in the IPAWS system, which is expected to be up and going by the end of this year. This new system will send widespread alerts to everyone within the area in a similar way that the current Amber Alert system

does now. “If you have a cell phone, a computer, a TV, or an AM/FM radio, you will be a notification with IPAWS,” Moore said. “It’s the best thing on the market. Southern Nuclear is doing away with their siren systems and we’re testing IPAWS right now. It’s a better system and we’re going to get it.”

In addition to this hearing this report, Council members also authorized two events, a movement of funds, and several purchases during the meeting.

Downtown Vidalia will be filled with activities this summer, as the Council approved both monthly Sweet Saturday events and a “One Love” Juneteenth celebration.

The Sweet Saturdays will be held by the Downtown Vidalia Association on June 8, July 13, and August 10, and will feature live music, vendors, food trucks, and more. Jackson, Meadows, and Church Streets will be closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during these events.

The ”One Love” Juneteenth celebration will be held from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. at Ronnie A. Dixon City Park on Saturday, June 22. Durden Street will be closed from 9 a.m. until midnight during this event.

The Council amended the previous agreement to move funds from the General Fund to help with the cost of removal of derelict property to reflect the cost of the projects so far.

Brown Enterprises, Inc. was selected to complete the storm drain improvements on Calhoun Street. This project will cost $148,800, which will be covered completely through the Local Road Assistance Grant.

McLendon Enterprises was selected to make an emergency repair to the city’s Well 4, which costed $8,650. This repair was funded through Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). The company was also awarded the bid to complete upgrades to Lift Stations 2, 6, and 26. These projects will cost a total of $1,907,557.50, which will be funded by a grant from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.

Council members also agreed to purchase a Billy Goat Vac from Alston Saw Shop, which will cost $5,380. This purchase will be funded through SPLOST.

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