City backs economic development merger

Published 9:05 am Friday, February 17, 2017

The city of Vicksburg will participate in a plan to consolidate the county’s economic development efforts, agreeing to commit $20,000 a year for three years to pay the salary of the new port/Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce executive director.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the city’s commitment at a special called meeting Thursday afternoon.
“Both the Warren County Port Commission and Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce are critically important in the economic development of the city, the retention of business and the economic growth of the city,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said.
“I am excited about the selection of the new executive director and feel this is another major step in moving the city of Vicksburg and Warren County forward to achieve their greatest economic potential.”
“It’s an opportunity to move in another direction and streamline economic development for the city and Warren County,” South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson said.
“I was personally excited about it,” Vicksburg Warren County Chamber president Mark Buys said. “I appreciate the city of Vicksburg stepping up and wanting to be a part of the compensation package of out local economic developer, and to me, it’s a great indication of all parties who have an interest in things coming together and working together and moving forward for the betterment of Vicksburg and Warren County.”
The plan, Buys said, consolidates all the economic development efforts in Warren County under one person, “like a one-stop shop.”
The plan is similar to an economic development program the county had in 2000, where three economic development-related organizations —the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, the Vicksburg Warren County Economic Development Foundation and the Warren County Port Commission — were placed under one director all three organizations participated in paying the director’s salary.
“By doing that, you’re able to pool your resources and attract a super star (industry),” Buys said.

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About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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