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Mayor: City’s current water plant is obsolete

Vicksburg’s 53-year-old water plant is obsolete and unable to meet the city’s needs, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said, adding it’s time to seriously consider building a second plant in the south part of town.

“I’m told that it should pump 16 million gallons a day but the pump only shows 11 million gallons a day,” he said at a question and answer session Tuesday to discuss the water system and service problems caused by a week of subfreezing temperatures.

Flaggs is hiring an engineering firm and appointing a committee to look at the plant’s capability, with an eye on upgrading the city’s water system to avoid a repeat of the problems caused by the winter weather.

He said the plant, which was built in 1968, is inadequate to meet the city’s increased needs.

When the plant was built, he said, “We didn’t have downtown as residential; it was retail and commercial. We have built a lot of houses in this area; we have brought industrial plants on. We’ve got to upgrade.”

Currently, the city’s water system has more than 9,000 customers and provides service to two other district water systems — Culkin Water District Jeff Davis-Yokena Water District, which each have thousands of additional customers.

The mayor said he has been calling for the construction of a second water plant for two terms.

“I’ve tried the 1 percent sales tax twice and to no avail,” he said. “I told you (the city) the house was burning and you decided not to listen to me and there have been two times since I’ve been here where we could have had a disaster.

“People don’t understand that when you grow a city you grow pain,” Flaggs said. “The pain is you have a 100-year-old infrastructure and you can’t dig up all those pipes; you have to fix them as you grow. All the things we have to do in Vicksburg you can’t do with a $30 million general appropriation. You can’t keep living in horse and buggy days and you can’t run a government at the same cost as horse and buggy days.”

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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