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Continued investment should be part of city’s next budget

As city leaders begin to look at the budget for next fiscal year, one item that has already been made a priority is structuring a budget that allows for the pay raise called for earlier by Mayor George Flaggs Jr.

The city of Vicksburg is only as good as the employees who provide the essential services and interact with their “customers” — the residents of Vicksburg.

That should not be the lone focus of city leaders as they crunch the numbers, however. There are other areas and projects we hope they also pay attention to.

One such project that has been thoroughly discussed and planned is the redevelopment of the city’s waterfront.

City efforts in the areas along Levee Street, and enhancements to public areas along Washington Street have already paid off and attracted private investment and economic development.

There is still more on the wish list for that area, and getting to those projects sooner, rather than later, will continue to provide strong returns on city investment.

As we have said in recent editorials, the success of investment in downtown should be the model for what should be done, and could be done, for the retail centers around the Outlets of Vicksburg and the Vicksburg Mall. Both locations have struggled to find a solid footing in a shifting retail world and those locations, and the jobs they support today and could support in the future, are worthy of attention and investment by the city.

As for infrastructure, the city has spent years and millions on addressing the concerns of the Environmental Protection Agency involving the city’s sewer system. That work must continue, even though the scrutiny of the agency is less stringent thanks to years of progress and investment.

With the success of the Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi, the city should look to also maintain and upgrade the other existing facilities, such as the ones at Bazinsky and Halls Ferry Park. Work on the city fields is also needed and important to the overall recreational experience for our adults and children alike.

One discussed project that should also start being considered is burying the utility lines in portions of downtown and through Clay Street to improve the aesthetics and service to the businesses and homes along these areas.

There is no doubt a wish list that each department head and each alderman will bring to the table, and we are sure there is a long list of wants and wishes from local residents, that is why the budgeting process and the decisions on which to invest taxpayer dollars are so important.

Whatever is addressed, whatever the focus of the next budget, it is our hope the investment in Vicksburg’s future is addressed and not just its current needs.