Endless possibilities for city in 2016

Published 10:19 am Thursday, December 17, 2015

To the citizens of Vicksburg:

It is indeed an honor to serve as mayor of our great city. Since taking office in July 2013, I have vowed to move Vicksburg forward in a positive and progressive direction. During this time, I have worked diligently to establish fiscal responsibility, create economic development, and promote tourism. I am proud of the relationships that we have been able to nurture to enhance opportunities and wealth within our community.

Along with economic growth and public safety, education is a key component to the future success of our city. I am a strong supporter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. I have met with Dr. Jeffery Holland, director of the US Army Corps of Engineers ERDC facility here in Vicksburg, on several occasions to discuss the importance of equipping our youth with all the tools necessary to succeed in STEM programs. The City of Vicksburg, ERDC, and the Vicksburg-Warren School District have worked in a collaborative effort to bring these programs to fruition in our schools. We are also proud that several of our schools have achieved “Leader In Me” Status. This designation entails a school transformation process through which students are taught leadership and life skills that create a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader. “Excel by 5” is also another program that our community leaders are reviewing which focuses on early childhood development and specific certifications for early childhood education providers. For the first time ever, the City of Vicksburg will be allocating $10,000 for the “Leader In Me” program and $2,500 for “Excel by 5.” The education of our youth is extremely important to the future vitality of Vicksburg.

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The City of Vicksburg is also collaborating with ERDC’s Innovation Team on a local retention plan. We would like for our scientists, engineers, administrators and other employees to remain in Vicksburg. I am working with all of our stakeholders to provide an engaging community for all of our citizens. I believe all citizens can live in Vicksburg and enjoy the same amenities as other municipalities.

I am also proud of the many accomplishments that our city has been able to achieve in my two and a half years in office. We have diligently worked to maintain the financial integrity of the City of Vicksburg. We have revised the organizational structure of our city’s government, established a rainy day fund for our budget, and gotten the city’s bond rating back which enhances our efforts for capital improvements in our city. We are focused on reducing the crime rate, to ensure that our citizens and tourists alike can feel safe and secure while visiting and living in Vicksburg. Moreover, we have been able to increase the minimum wage, while allowing our employees to enjoy the great benefits that our city has to offer. As mayor of Vicksburg, I am committed to providing the highest quality of service at the least cost to the taxpayer.

As the year 2016 approaches, I am extremely excited about the endless possibilities for the future of Vicksburg. It is easy to see why everyone is saying great things about the Red Carpet City of the South. I hope everyone has a safe and blessed holiday season and my wishes are extended for a prosperous New Year.

George Flaggs Jr. is mayor of Vicksburg.