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August 13--  Vidalia's new police chief is on the job.  Chief Brian Scott assumed his duties Monday and was introduced at the City Council's August meeting Monday night.  Chief Scott said he and his family are getting settled in and he's looking forward to serving the citizens of Vidalia.

The council gave the go ahead to advertise the city's 2019 property tax rate which is expected to be approved in September.  The property tax digest is about $2.7 million less than last year and will require a millage rate of 4.201 mils which will raise about $8,000 less than last year. 

The city's property taxes have been decreasing for the last five years prompting City Council member Kailey Dees to note a raise in the property tax rate may need to be addressed in the future.  A study of the city's employee compensation package and job descriptions is scheduled to start next month by the Carl Vinson Institute at the University of Georgia.

Council members refused to second a motion by Dees that would have allowed Toombs County citizens who don't live in the city but who own or operate businesses in the city to serve on the Vidalia Recreation Board.  The board recommended the change and noted about a third of the Rec Department participants live outside the city limits.

The council approved ordinances setting fees for potential media companies which might want to do film production in the city and another supporting increased internet broadband capacity.

It also approved closing of Southeast Main Street for a few hours adjacent to the former Woodland Oil complex to allow demolition of the building.

The council approved recommendations from the Zoning and Planning Commission to allow construction of luxury town homes on a nearly four-acre site on Mose Coleman Drive and the annexation of three acres on Green Acres Drive for residential construction.

The following expenditures were approved:

*  $46,100 to purchase two police cars from Woody Folsom Dodge Chrysler.

*  $35,475 to replace 20 fire hydrants.

*  $60,825 for computers and software.

* $18,556 for Rec Department football uniforms, pads and helmets.

Fire Chief  Brian Sikes reported the Fire and Police Departments are reinvigorating "Safe Kids Toombs" in cooperation with Safe Kids Georgia and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. The kickoff celebration is Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. at the Walmart Super Center in Vidalia.  The program focuses on preventing childhood injury.

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