City, Port Commission to ante up an additional $5,000 towards joint strategic plan

Published 6:51 pm Monday, October 16, 2017

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Warren County Port Commission are each contributing an additional $5,000 toward developing an economic development strategic plan for the county.

Both boards Monday approved resolutions to pay the money, which is in addition to the $20,000 the boards approved for the plan in August.

Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce executive director Pablo Diaz said the chamber approved paying an additional $5,000 earlier this month, and the Warren County Economic Development Foundation is expected to do the same at its meeting later in October. Both organizations also approved $20,000 toward developing the plan.

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“Based on the Board of Supervisors decision, I think the commissioners have no problem doing this,” port commission chairman Margaret Gilmer said.

The chamber asked the economic development foundation, the Warren County Supervisors, port commission and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to each contribute $20,000 toward the $100,000 cost of hiring a consultant to assist with developing the county’s economic development strategic plan. The supervisors, however, balked at paying the money because the port commision, which was established by the supervisors, is an arm of the county.

Having the Board of Supervisors pay $20,000, District 2 Supervisor William Banks said, meant the county would be paying $40,000 toward the plan.

“The port and the Board of Supervisors are all one,” Banks said at a Sept. 5 meeting. “It should have been four entities instead of five.”

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. initially said the city would not contribute any more money toward the plan, saying the county needed to contribute. He said Monday he was changing his stance.

“Economic development is too critical to get into a political (controversy),” he said.

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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