Vienna City Council tables USDA loan proposal

Published 11:02 am Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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The Vienna City Council unanimously delayed a vote regarding a proposal to approve a United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD) loan of $50,000 and a $22,900 grant toward the purchase of two new police vehicles for the City of Vienna.  According to Chief C.  Ray, the department is down one police officer at present and councilman Almond moved to table the proposal for now saying “we are still in a pandemic and come November first utility prices will increase; I just don’t think this is a good move right now.”  He also mentioned the city recently purchased a police vehicle; a 2015 Dodge Durango. 

The USDA Rural Development Special Vehicle and Equipment Initiative assists municipalities in rural towns of 20,000 or less with vehicle loans and grants.  The amount of the grant depends upon the median household income of the population of the community, a direct result of the census count numbers. Grant assistance may be available for up to 75% of eligible project costs.

Other national grants for police vehicles include The Walmart Community Grants Car Program which matches any funds police officers raise with a grant.  On average Walmart gives away 70,000 to 80,000 matching grants averaging $5,000 each.  Additionally, the Special Program Assistance for Needed Tactical Officer Assets grant (SPA-NTOA) is specific to police departments with a SWAT team in place and donates equipment and vehicles that they may not have the funding to obtain. 

The City of Vienna has been designated a Plan One community, according to city administrator, Michael Bowens, which enables the city to apply for Community Block Grants on an annual basis instead of every two years.  Bowens also informed the council that the city met the deadline for COVID CARES Act money submission and has been approved for some funding and waiting on other approvals and monies.  After the recent death of Councilman Johnson, Bowens also reported to the council that a special election will need to be held in March 2021 and another in November 2021 to fill the vacant council seat. Johnson filled in for former city council woman Beth English who vacated her seat during the 2020 mayoral race.

The city has opened the bidding for sewer repairs to several streets in the city with deteriorated lines.

The council welcomed John Pooler, newly appointed chaplain for Tyson Foods.  Mr. Pooler, a former minister and law enforcement chaplain moved from Greensboro, NC with his family and resides in Warner Robbins. Chaplain Pooler stated Tyson wants to increase their involvement within the community and announced that he has contacted local school officials with a request in order for Tyson to award $1,000 each to several area teachers.    In local news and events, the Vienna Garden Club in association with several area churches, are planning a Saturday, October 3, Cemetery Clean-Up Day beginning at 8 a.m. Contact the Vienna Garden Club for more information.

Christ Chapel in Unadilla in coordination with CVS will be administering free flu vaccines. Contact Christ Chapel for more information.