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Vicksburg Mayor, Aldermen sworn in, ask public for help

The members of Vicksburg’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen began their new term in office with a commitment to improving Vicksburg, and called on residents to support them in making the city better.

Saying he learned from his opponents and the voters, Mayor George Flaggs said, “God put us in a position of power to empower,” during his address following inauguration ceremonies for him and Aldermen Michael Mayfield and Alex Monsour.

As the city grows and improves, Flaggs said, officials plan to “look at crime as never before,” with the goal of keeping guns out of the hands of the city’s youth and concentrating on community policing to better protect the city’s residents and reduce crime in the city.

“If we can do this, we can be the best; we can be a city without crime,” he said.

Flaggs also pointed the proposed expansion of the Port of Vicksburg, which is expected to create 500 new jobs, and the completion of the Thad Cochran Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology, also known as MCITy, as examples of the city’s direction as a growing competitor in the state.

He also discussed the proposed construction of new residential developments for the city, further enhancing the city’s position as a tourism destination and plans to bring back retail sales by attracting big-box retailers like Belk back to the city.

Flaggs said the city must improve its infrastructure and integrate its recreational facilities, like the public parks with Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi, to bring more people to the area, adding, “We can do this.”

North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield called on residents to help the board address some of the city’s problems.

“Somebody out there may need to hear this, because we need your help,” he said. “You all went to the polls, you all were the majority of the people who went to the polls and voted for the three of us; we can’t do it all.”

While the board and city departments can’t prevent all the city’s problems, Mayfield said, “You can do everything you can to prevent as much as you possibly can and that’s what we’re trying to do.

“We have a heck of a task before us,” he said, discussing the city’s problems with derelict, overgrown and dilapidated properties.

Mayfield said he appreciated the voters returning him to office, but told the crowd attending the inauguration, “I can’t do it all; I need your help. Don’t be afraid to call when something is wrong. If something is wrong in your community, tell somebody. I cannot, this board cannot, do it alone. We need you all.”

Monsour said Vicksburg has prospered over the past four years.

“I just believe Vicksburg is the greatest city in the state of Mississippi and I believe we can be the best anywhere in the world. Because what we have to come is going to be great,” Monsour said. “This administration has done a lot in four years.

“But if we didn’t work as a team (with other agencies) we would not be where we are today nor would we be ready to go into the future, which is going to be great for Vicksburg.”

He called on the city’s residents for support.

“Help us in getting the things done that we need to get done; support us,” he said. “We should love this city, we should support this city and we should make it be where everyone wants to come to this city.”

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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