City seeks study for new port

Published 6:31 pm Saturday, December 29, 2018

Three companies have responded to a city request for qualifications to perform a feasibility study for a new port for Vicksburg on the Mississippi River.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen received packages from Allen and Hoshall of Jackson, Waggoner Engineering of Jackson and Jacobs Engineering Group of Gulfport outlining their qualifications to perform the study. Allen and Hoshall and Waggoner already have contracts with the city for other projects. Waggoner recently opened an office in Vicksburg.

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The proposals were referred to a five-member committee appointed by Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to evaluate them and recommend a consultant. Flaggs said a recommendation is expected Jan. 18.

“You talk about a game changer, you’re about to see,” he said of the port.

The city has received $1 million in state funds for the study to determine if a new multimodal port is feasible.

“This is part of our due diligence,” Flaggs said, “This will determine a whole lot about the future of Vicksburg.”

The port is part of a 10-year, $55 million capital improvements project that includes $26.5 million for public works, public safety, tourism, and paving, and $28.5 million in potential matching funds for the port project, which is estimated at $125 million.

Flaggs said before the board’s Dec. 17 meeting he will take the 10-year plan funded by a special 1-cent sales tax to the Legislature in January.

“This is about asking the Legislature to allow us to assess 1 percent sales tax on anything other than groceries, medicine, automobiles, hotels and restaurants and let the people vote on it,” he said.

Flaggs said the board will adopt a resolution the first part of January, seeking the Legislature’s approval of a local and private, or special, bill allowing the city to levy the 1 percent sales tax with the approval of 60 percent of the vote in a special referendum. The date of the referendum would be decided if the bill is approved, he said.

The proposed one-cent tax is expected to raise $3.9 million a year and payoff the $55 million bond issue in 20 years.

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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