State funds helping city a good use of our dollars

Published 9:56 am Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The city of Vicksburg and one of its attractions came out ahead when the Mississippi Legislature adjourned last week.

The city now has a $500,000 fund of state bond money for tourism programs, the authority to clean the Tate Family Cemetery and remove a blighted area in the city, while Pig-in-Flight children’s museum will be the beneficiary of up to $10,000 in city funds to help it keep educating local children.

The credit for this work goes in part to Mayor George Flaggs Jr., who worked with the county’s legislative delegation, but more importantly to state Reps. Oscar Denton, Alex Monsour and Deborah Butler Dixon, and State Sen. Briggs Hopson who introduced the bills and co-sponsored them on their way through the system.

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The Pigs-in-Flight donation is another step in the city’s efforts to help improve educational opportunities for children by helping keep the museum open and accessible to individuals and school groups. The bill on Tate Cemetery allows the city to go in and cut and clean the more than 100-year-old private black cemetery which had been allowed to become an eyesore with overgrown weeds and trees; almost as an insult to the people buried there.

But the real measure that can have a serious effect on the city is the $500,000 Vicksburg Tourism Fund, which was included in the state bond bill that provides the money for all state-funded projects. That bill has not, so far, been approved by the governor. Monsour is confident it will be signed, “because it’s got everybody’s stuff, including all the major bond projects in the State of Mississippi.”

“That fund is unique for Vicksburg and will stay in effect until 2020,” Flaggs said. “It’s for construction of any infrastructure involving tourism, and includes a sports complex and anything having to do with recreation.”

Having that kind of money available is a boon to the city, but as we have in the past, we urge the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to be cautious how they use it, and ensure the citizens are getting their best value for their money, because that fund is coming from our taxes.

It’s great to be able to see our tax money come back to be spent locally, and we’d like to see that type of return continue to help our city.