Needed bayou project will move forward

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 21, 2009

It’s not clear what prompted the change of heart, but it was good news last week when Warren County supervisors decided to accept $3.9 million to clean and clear open drainage ditches that course through the City of Vicksburg.

Even though a year has passed since the county was awarded the money it applied for and won from a federal Katrina-related grant, the need is just as great.

As we have said before, this is the kind of project that helps the citizens who live along open portions of Hatcher, Glass and Stouts bayous by eliminating overgrowth and stench. It also denies breeding places to insects and vermin, which can infest a much wider area. And it also increases property values, which can result in more money for the county treasury, into which city residents already contribute more than half the revenue.

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This is a “quality of life” project, the type with far more direct results than more obscure projects in which everyday citizens don’t see their money at work or derive any direct benefit.

It is also a more complicated project, given the need for easements and such and confusion about where private and public property lines are drawn. None of that will bother supervisors, since project administration will be contracted out.

Before accepting the money, supervisors apparently negotiated away the need for creating a separate drainage district entity, which would have been cumbersome, and negotiated down the cost of continuing maintenance to about $2,500.

To have let this money go elsewhere after asking for it would have been a mistake. The need is clear and everyone should be glad supervisors decided to accept the responsibility.