Gun violence, education, economic development: Flaggs addresses citizens’ concerns at Q&A

Published 8:12 pm Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. held a public question-and-answer session on Wednesday evening at City Hall.

Members of the community were able to bring their concerns directly to the mayor at the event.

Flaggs touched on topics including prevalent gun violence, education and economic development.

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“I just come back from a trip in D.C., and I was in the discussion with some small-town mayors and big-town mayors,” Flaggs said. “And the number one challenge (for all of them) is gun violence.”

He then mentioned the forthcoming Youth Development Center, which will be designed to provide a hub for connecting families and children in need with the proper resources. The plan for the facility was formed by the city of Vicksburg after the shooting death of 13-year-old Carleone Woodland in late January.

Flaggs also addressed the city’s housing shortage.

“If we’ve got any challenges other than youth violence, it’ll be housing,” Flaggs said. “We’re working on a first-time home buyer program. We’re working on some other programs that will allow some assistance.”

One member of the community, who wished to remain anonymous, asked Flaggs about the difficulties the Vicksburg Police Department has had with finding new officers.

“I don’t think money is the issue when it comes to police or city service. Well, I think that it’s the danger of the service,” Flaggs said. “And the other part of it is the federal government is hiring the most qualified police officers (who have) enough years of service in the state (for full benefits).”

Flaggs added that he thinks the city will start looking at private companies for some of its security services.

“I just think that what we have to do in this town, at some time, we just will have to look at privatizing more of the services in the city,” he said.

Another resident asked Flaggs about addresses where multiple vehicles, which seem to be inoperable,  are parked on front lawns.

“We’re working on the issue. I’m told that (it has to do with) the definition of a ‘proper vehicle.’” Flaggs responded. “We’re going to change the definition, and then we’re going to limit the number of vehicles. I see it, too. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

One of the attendees of the session asked about utility maintenance that he had requested, saying he had called in to have gas lights on Jackson Street repaired, but has yet to see any results.

“We’re in the process right now of upgrading a lot of those lights to LED,” Flaggs said. “The issue with Entergy is they do that contract work now, and a lot of them are tied up in Rolling Fork over other areas now. So it may be a little bit slower now than it was.”

Flaggs then asked the man to call his office to give him the information and that he would make sure it was taken care of.

Approximately 20 residents attended the meeting in-person.