Flaggs and Hall agree on mowing within city limits

Published 6:41 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The city of Vicksburg could be cutting grass along Interstate 20 in 2019.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said he talked Monday with Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall about developing an agreement similar to the one Clinton has with the Mississippi Department of Transportation to cut the grass in the highway median and along the shoulders of I-20 in the future. Flaggs and Hall are expected to meet and discuss the Clinton agreement and cutting U.S. 61. No date has been set.

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The mayor announced the discussion Tuesday at the start of a meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. It comes in the wake of complaints by Flaggs and South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour that the grass along I-20 and U.S. 61 North wasn’t being cut by the state. Both cited the clean look of the grass along I-20 in Clinton.

Hall said cutting the grass on U.S. 61 North and South was the city’s responsibility under state law. He also said Clinton had an arrangement with MDOT allowing the city’s workers to cut the grass on I-20.

“We’ve got it worked out how it will proceed,” Flaggs said. “I never knew that we had an obligation and a responsibility on any of the grass; it was never told to me.”

Clinton has had an agreement with MDOT to cut the grass since 2014. Flaggs said he wants to use the condition of the grass in Clinton to serve as a model for Vicksburg.

“We’re going to work out a schedule arrangement where the grass will be cut at all times and it may cause us to have an additional contract, but we’ll work it out. He (Hall) and I are going to sign a memorandum of understanding.”

Hall said Tuesday Flaggs asked for a copy of the agreement between MDOT and Clinton to see if Vicksburg wants to enter into a similar arrangement. Once Flaggs has read the agreement, he said, they will meet.

“That’s going to be planning for next (calendar) year,” Hall said. “This year, we’re still planning on coming in and cutting the grass.

“We’re going to get there as soon as we can; we’re about a month behind, and (the grass) should have been mowed a month ago, but we’ve got somebody trying to get to it now. But the long-range plan is to get an arrangement like Clinton has.”

MDOT in the past has hired contractors to cut grass along the state highway rights of way, but Hall said the Transportation Commission might reconsider the practice.

“We’re going to take a serious look at going back to doing this with our own people,” he said. “I like to put things in the private sector, but it’s just not working to our satisfaction.”

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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