Much work to be done: Sales tax increase overshadowed by recent crimes

Published 10:02 am Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The City of Vicksburg was applauding itself recently over the slowly increasing numbers from sales tax revenue.

“We’re speaking as one voice. We’re saying the city of Vicksburg,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “All cylinders are clicking: the VCVB (Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau) Board, the VCC (Vicksburg Convention Center) Board, everybody’s working together.”

True indeed, things from the outside are looking better than they have in years past.

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“I’ve seen when the city and all of its auxiliaries were split, (and) everybody was out doing their own thing, trying to make sure they stayed afloat,” North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said. “And now you have the chamber and Main Street and the city and county and all of them working together.”

That’s reason enough to celebrate. However, our community is also facing the recent abduction and murder of Sharen Wilson from her home on Drummond Street, the armed robbery of a riverboat tourist, the attempted murder of a woman last week and four homicides so far this year.

No amount of sales tax revenue can hide those events. Vacant, abandoned and derelict buildings dot the city’s landscape and auto burglaries are a constant struggle.

True, violent crime doesn’t happen that often in Vicksburg, but what visitor wants their car broken into and their belongings stolen?

“I think people invest in a city that’s being taken care of,” South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson said.

“We’re investing in our infrastructure, making beautification efforts; we’ve seen several new developments come since just our tenure began two years ago.”

Infrastructure problems are being tackled by the city, now that it has restored its bond rating and gotten a good rating on $9.8 million worth of bonds.

Alderman Thompson is right, people will invest in a city that’s being take care of.

People will also invest in a safe city where people walk the streets and children play.