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December 10--  The city of Vidalia ends 2013 in strong financial shape and is increasing its general fund budget in 2014.

The city council approved a budget of $7,991.553.00 at its December meeting Monday night, an increase of 3.4% over 2013.  

The budget includes $650,000 for employee health insurance, an increase of $75,000.  There's also a 5% salary increase for employees in the new year. 

Workers got no cost of living increase this year, but the council voted to help with that by approving year-end performance bonuses ranging from $500 to $1,000 for employees who meet performance standards.

The city budget projects $2.1 million in revenue for water and sewer next year and includes a 5% increase increase in customer rates along with a dollar a month increase in base rates.

The budget also shows a reduction in the airport budget of $105,438.00 and a reduction in projected fuel sales due to no air show at the 2014 Vidalia Onion Festival.  The air show is expected to return in 2015 with the Navy's Blue Angels headlining the event.

Onion Festival Chairman Les Salter informed the council that the opening act for the festival's Saturday night concert starring Uncle Kracker is one of the top groups right now in country music.

"Parmalee's" song "Carolina" is currently on the country charts at number four, Salter reported.

The Saturday night concert will be preceded Friday night in downtown Vidalia by "The Temptations" who will inaugurate the new downtown amphitheater.

Mayor Ronnie Dixon informed the council the city along with Lyons and Toombs County are planning a review of how recreation services are delivered in the area.  A six-member advisory committee will be appointed by the three governments to look at options and report back in six months.