Flaggs talks about future annexation

Published 10:14 pm Thursday, November 22, 2018

Vicksburg at some point needs to consider extending its city limits into Warren County if it ever wants to take advantage of federal funds available to help make it a major city in the area.

“This city cannot grow and reach its full potential standing around 24,000, 23,000 people,” he said. “Most grants, most federal projects, start at 25,000 (population). Anything below 25,000 is considered rural. If you’re ever going to be considered competitive, as it relates to programs, somebody — it may not be me — is going to have to look at where the potential growth is.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Flaggs comments came during the discussion of seeking permission to bore under the Kansas City Southern Railroad tracks off Paxton Road to improve the city’s natural gas service.

“I’m probably 10 years ahead,” he said, “But I was thinking that this would be a suitable potential area to annex, if we can provide the services.”

Flaggs said the Board of Mayor and Aldermen have not discussed plans to annex any areas, “And I’m not advocating, but I’m smart enough to understand you can’t stay under 25,000 and be competitive; you will; never pass Madison or Hattiesburg staying a 24,000.”

When you count the commuters who come to Vicksburg from other areas to work, he said, the city’s population is more than 40,000, “But we’ve got to get more than 25,000 staying here overnight by way of residential.

“The next census is going to be more important to Vicksburg than ever before. You cannot grow without anticipation,” he said.

South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour said Vicksburg “is in the middle zone,” when it comes to grants, adding there are grant programs for smaller cities and towns and those with a higher population.

“The mayor is correct in saying, ‘We are stuck in the middle where we just fall out for qualifying for these grants;’ we’re on threshold; either too big or too small, and we just fall out almost every time.”

Grant eligibility

If the city can reach of exceed 25,000 people, it will become eligible for a number of U.S. Department of Agriculture grants “ and do so many things for the city of Vicksburg, whereas if we want it now, there’s a cost to people here to the city. But there won’t be when we cross that threshold.”

Flaggs said he was involved in the city’s last annexation.

He said he regretted one thing from the experience. “I certainly regret not going into Oak Park (subdivision) because when you look at that whole subdivision now, we should have had that, but we were trying to be non-controversial.

“I want to make it clear that this city is on the threshold of growing like never before, and if you want to continue to grow, you’re going to have to remove barrels and barriers.”

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.

email author More by John