City of Vicksburg to get first draw of erosion repair loan

Published 2:37 pm Friday, October 1, 2021

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen has made its first draw of a $4 million loan to repair slide damage in the city caused by heavy rains in January and April 2020.

The board Thursday approved using $1 million of the loan to begin the repair work. No projects were specified in the resolution announcing the intent to borrow the money.

City officials in February approved borrowing $4 million to begin work on the erosion projects in anticipation of receiving Federal Emergency Management Agency emergency grant funds. The grant money will be used to pay off the loan.

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“This is being fiscally responsible; rather than going into the general fund, you can borrow and pay it back,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said, adding the city will be reimbursed by FEMA.

“It allows us to move on these landslides,” city accounting director Doug Whittington said.

The grants cover 75 percent of the eligible project costs and are reimbursement grants, meaning the city will pay for the repairs and be reimbursed for the costs.

At the time the board borrowed the $4 million loan, the city had nine projects undergoing FEMA approval, all involving erosion issues: Riverfront Park, James E. Sturgis Sr. Street, Crestline Lane (street), Greenhill, Clover Lane, Farmer Street, a culvert on Crestline Lane and a culvert near the intersection of Iowa Boulevard and U.S. 61 South near McDonald’s and the City Park project to replace a damaged waking trail and replace fencing.

All the projects, with the exception of Farmer Street and Cottage Row, have been approved. Reviews are still pending on Farmer Street and Cottage Row. The Farmer Street project involves a section of private property that slid, threatening cars and homes on China Street, which is behind the property.

The city bought the property in August so the repair project would qualify for the FEMA grant.

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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