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A lesson the county needs

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 29, 2014

When it was sworn in last year, the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen made history, becoming the city’s first all-black board, but that wasn’t the end of the story.
Since taking office July 1, 2013, the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen have fought over major appointments, gotten the city current on its audits, appointed committees on recreation and beautification, increased the city’s use of technology, taken steps to get the city’s bond rating back and prepared to give city employees a pay raise.
Going into its second year, the board plans to continue keeping a tight grip on city finances, look for ways to improve the city’s infrastructure, increase tourism, and improve or enhance recreation facilities.
Since those first July meetings, Mayor George Flaggs Jr., Aldermen Michael Mayfield and Willis Thompson have resolved their differences and developed a relationship that has led to a string of 3-0 votes on major issues that have come before the board. The three have learned to work together to put the needs of the community above their own. The level of cooperation is unprecedented in our community and great strides have been made toward improving the city.
The board filed papers with Moody’s Investment Services, a New York-based provider of credit ratings and risk analysis, to get the city’s bond rating back.
“I have no doubt that we have put us in a position where they can’t deny us a proper rating,” Mayfield said. “We’ve done what we’ve been asked to do to get the highest rating.”
“I’m looking to have that bond rating before this first year is up,” Thompson said. “I think by the end of the fiscal year, we’ll have that bond rating, and that will be important in moving the city forward with improvements.”
“There’s a buy-in right now I haven’t seen in a number of years from the general public,” Mayfield said. “Business and industry want to be a part of what’s going on in the city at this time. We’ve put the olive branch out there and we’ve made sure there’s nothing fake about what we’re doing.”
The only olive branch yet to come back is the one the city extended to the Warren County Board of Supervisors about a combined recreation department. We’re still waiting to see if the county can learn to work together like the City Board has.