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September 14--  Property tax rates in the city of Vidalia will remain the same this year as last.

The city council approved the annual levy at its September meeting and city manager Bill Torrance says one way the city keeps the rate the same is by actively seeking and receiving state and federal grants. He notes $2 million in such grants have been received for various city projects.

The police department has received over a half million dollars in grants in the last three years including a $130,000 project for a weather alert system.  Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits says five weather alert sirens have been installed and Torrance says they will be tested soon.

"We just got them where we can run them.  When we test them we do it on a blue sky day and not a cloudy day when it might be bad weather because people might think it's the real thing.  We'll set a date and let people know before the test," he says.

Another grant for $70,000 is helping build a new walking trail at the new Vidalia Sports Complex off the Ezra Taylor Road, according to city rec director Tommy Sasser.  

"It's a 1.2 mile walking and jogging trail around the perimeter of the sports complex.  We'll have a pavillion where it starts with benches along the trail where you can rest and another pavillion at the end of the trail near the pond," he reports.  

The trail has already been marked and work will begin soon, Sasser says.