Heritage Guild questions supervisor candidates: Would you support the establishment of a fund to incentivize historic preservation?
Published 5:46 pm Monday, August 5, 2019
Editor’s Note: The following questions were posed to 2019 Warren County Supervisor Candidates by the Heritage Guild of Vickburg Warren. The candidates were given until August 1 to respond to the questions. There was no requirement as to the length of the candidates’ answers. No responses were accepted after the August 1 deadline. Responses have not been edited.
The Heritage Guild of Vicksburg & Warren County is a volunteer organization established in 2016. The organization is open to all and encourages those who are interested to join them in championing our community’s historical assets. For more information on the group’s activities, please view their facebook page titled “Heritage Guild Vicksburg Warren.” As a 501c3 not for profit organization, the guild does not endorse any candidate.
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Question 3: Would you support the establishment of a fund to incentivize historic preservation? These funds may provide opportunity for maintaining historic properties owned by the county, public-private partnerships, grant research and funding, preservation professional consultations, and educational programs.
District 1 Candidate John Arnold (Independent): We maintain any property owned by the County. For instance we are spending over 45,000 dollars on securing and repairing the retaining wall around the Old Courthouse We are in the process of repairing several issues at the New Courthouse this year. We just finished upgrading our elevator. We will be installing a new roof on this building also.
District 1 Candidate Edward Herring (Republican): Yes but there would have to be strict limitations, oversight and shared responsibility.
District 3 Candidate Charles Selmon (Democrat): As you know County Government can only do what the law require us to do. I would support the establishment to preserve historic preservation. There are no state laws that give us authority to provide funds to incentivize historic preservation. It is a known fact that the County only has (2) two tracts of property that has historic value.
District 3 Candidate David Sharp (Independent): I would be in favor of establishing a fund as an incentive for preservation. This fund would be for all listed (may some unlisted) by the local and national preservation boards. These funds would need to be applied for and allocated upon the approval. The guidelines for these funds would be established by the Board of Supervisors in collaboration with stakeholders of the community.
District 4 Candidate John Carlisle (Republican): I do not think we, as a board, can fund private endeavors.
District 4 Candidate Jeffery P. Holland (Independent): It would be a plus to our community if we increased incentivization for historic preservation. Creation of a “fund” is one method to do this, and would have to be done in such a way as to produce no tax increase. We must take care when considering increases in the tax base to create revenue sources – our total tax base is approaching a level that could discourage economic development. By seeking efficiencies in the County’s operational budget, there could be opportunities to utilize existing revenues in new ways. Still, there are other options to consider. Have we exhausted the existing opportunities to utilize things like historic tax credits in normal restoration efforts when applicable? Have we evaluated legislative measures to encourage historic restoration? Our goal should be to utilize our current authorities to their greatest extent, and to seek additional authorities as we see the need for them.
District 5 Candidate Kelle Banks Barfield (Republican): Integrating the interests of county residents into an action plan is a first step to integrating resources. Regarding financial resources, private and public donations, corporate contributions and federal or state grants are strategic sources of revenue for the preservation of historic land and assets. Establishing a single fund that can serve as an incentive to historic preservation could indeed spur action in maintaining high priority assets, as we see in the example of funds from Main Street Program for facade improvements and for sprinkler system installations. Mississippi law offers a variety of grants, public financing, development tools and tax incentives available to boards of supervisors in their development efforts. However, unless express statutory authority is given, the board of supervisors cannot make donations or payments for any private purpose. This does not prevent supervisors from supporting a centralized fund, but means that several challenges would have to be explored: how to avoid duplication of funding solicitations by multiple groups; how to ensure there are no unintended negative consequences for groups already active in preservation funding; determining who would manage such a fund and govern dispensation in a way that meets the greatest shared priorities. A first step would be to assess local historical preservation groups and activities for existing funding strategies and to explore mechanisms for acquiring funds and allocating them.
District 5 Candidate Richard George (Independent): Warren County has utilized grant funds to preserve county historic buildings and provided matching funds to secure such grants.
Responses were not submitted or submitted past the deadline for the following candidates.
District 1 Candidate Bill Jeffers (Republican)
District 2 Candidate William Vollor Halpin (Independent)
District 2 Candidate William H. Banks Jr. (Democrat)
District 2 Candidate Stan Collins (Independent)
District 3 Candidate Shawn Jackson (Democrat)
District 3 Candidate James E. Stirgus, Jr. (Democrat)
District 4 Candidate Marty Crevitt (Republican)
District 5 Candidate Hunter Vinzant (Independent)
District 5 Candidate Carl Campbell (Independent)