City of Vicksburg amends camera ordinance

Published 3:48 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Some local business owners will not be required to install video cameras on their buildings, according to an amendment to the city’s video camera ordinance.

The board in August 2021 approved the “Parking Lot and Building Security Ordinance” requiring all Vicksburg businesses and shopping centers with parking lots containing 25 or more parking spaces or buildings of 2,000 square feet or more to mount cameras on the buildings surrounding or facing the parking areas and covering entrances and exits of buildings.

The board on Monday amended the ordinance to replace the sentence making the cameras mandatory with one recommending that cameras be installed. The amendment becomes law in 30 days.

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City Attorney Kim Nailor said the city has received complaints from local businesses, especially small businesses, that the present ordinance created economic hardship.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said he agreed.

“It does create a hardship on the smaller businesses,” he said. “It’s a burden on the small businesses and we’re going to leave it open and encourage all businesses to use cameras, especially new construction.”

Flaggs said after the meeting there was another reason for amending the ordinance.

“It is my understanding the businesses were being reassessed on property value and there was going to be a tax increase on them, and I just didn’t want to compound the cost to them. I thought we should give the business owner some relief on the cameras,” he said.

In a related matter, Flaggs said the city may hire a private contractor to install and maintain video cameras in the city.

He said he has asked employees in the city’s IT department to look at a proposal to purchase about 50 video cameras using American Recovery Plan Act funds.

“This will all be privatized; they would buy the cameras and install them and they would maintain them,” Flaggs said. “This company has a contract with the (Vicksburg) Housing Authority. I’m trying to duplicate it with that company.”

The mayor said city officials will look at other services like the cameras that can be privatized.

“The way I understand it, IT is being overwhelmed with in-house computers and the number of cameras we’ve added to the system,” Flaggs said.

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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