City showing signs of growing, improving

Published 7:01 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The city of Vicksburg had some good news Monday that revenue for the city’s fiscal 2018 budget increased by $227,000.

That may not seem like much when you remember the city’s 2018 budget totaled about $30 million, but there is a lot of meaning in that total. It’s an indicator that the city is beginning to grow and improve. As Mayor George Flaggs Jr. put it, “That represents growth and prosperity. That’s general fund; that’s more money in the bank.”

And perhaps the biggest indicator of that statement is the news that the city’s revenues from building permits increased by $67,000, making the total revenue from building permit fees $159,000 for the fiscal year with three weeks still to go. The permit revenue for 2017 was $92,000. Community development director Victor Gray-Lewis said the fee for building permits is based on the cost of the construction, and that does not include the fees from electrical, plumbing and gas permits.

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He said the number of building permits “is trending upward; it’s clear economic growth for the Vicksburg area, so we’re real proud of that number.” That means people are either building new homes or remodeling their present homes.

Flaggs said building permits “had been flat” for about five years. The increase, he said, “Says the city of Vicksburg is growing and headed in the right direction. We hope everybody continues to do that.”

The additional money is an indicator that something is beginning to happen in Vicksburg. Over this summer, two new businesses opened in the county, one in Vicksburg and another in the Ceres Industrial Park bringing jobs to the area. City officials are working to improve Vicksburg’s aging infrastructure to get it ready for increased economic growth.

There will be people who will look at the city’s windfall and question how important that money is to the city’s overall growth, or whether it is a symbol of any growth at all.

But considering that eight years ago the city was facing a $400,000 deficit, had no bond rating, and a new administration was trying to convince the voters that it was trying to change the culture of would’ve, should’ve, could’ve to we can and let’s do it, that six-figure revenue means a lot. It means things are changing and people are investing in their community.