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January 13--  The city of Vidalia thought it could build an amphitheater complex downtown for about $500,000.  However, it had to make some design changes when the cost ballooned to more than $1 million.

At Monday night's city council meeting, the council authorized the city to spend up to $750,000 for a 30 x 40 foot covered stage, paved parking and landscaping on the site formerly occupied by the Vidalia Police Department.  The goal is to have it ready for the 2014 Vidalia Onion Festival in April.

The council approved a resolution in cooperation with Toombs County, Lyons and Santa Claus asking voters to approve a new one penny special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) in the May 20th primary election.

The current tax expires this year and voter approval is needed for another five-year levy starting in 2015.

The council also voted to add another $97,000 to the Adams Street renovation project to allow for the replacement of 25 sewer connections.

It also agreed to ask the state for a $500,000 grant to help with drainage in the Bay Street area.


Toombs County Probate Judge Larry Threlkeld (left) delivered the oath of office to three incumbents re-elected without opposition in November.  Eddie Tyson is starting his fifth term as 2nd Ward councilman, Mayor Ronnie Dixon is beginning his sixth term, 1st Ward councilman Cecil Thompson is starting his fourth term and Reid Threlkeld has been city attorney for 36 years.

Vidalia Fire Chief Buddy Coleman is retiring after 39 years with the fire department.  Bryan Sikes is the acting Chief until Coleman's successor it named.

The council made appointments for 2014 including Lloyd Mobley and Sam Polk to the Vidalia Development Authority, Ray Blount to the Vidalia Housing Authority, Brian McDaniel to the city Planning and Zoning Commission, Chris Black to the Vidalia Recreation Board, Les Ramsey to the Revolving Loan Committee and John Tyson and Andrew McIntyre to the Development Authority of Vidalia.

Doug Roper, Sr. and city manager Bill Torrance were named to a Recreation Advisory Committee being formed to examine delivery of recreation services in cooperation with Toombs County and the City of Lyons.