Vicksburg’s issues and challenges

We face many in the years to come. But progress has been and is being made in our city and county. From your viewpoint, what are our greatest accomplishments? What are our biggest challenges? What improvements in city/county government would you recommend? Higher/lower taxes? Timely notification of changes in property tax? Bigger/smaller government? More/less regulations? Code changes? Subsidies to lower fuel costs? More bond issues for further capital improvements? More/fewer casinos? Inventory tax elimination? Merging of additional city/county functions? Changes in law enforcement, including merging city police with sheriff’s department? Full staffing of the VPD? More emphasis on recycling? Changes to our public school system? More attention to illegal immigration? A new movie house? Better reporting of crimes and more attention to their prevention? More mass transit (rail)? Additional recreational facilities? More variety in our restaurants? Jail all the lawyers? Legalize marijuana? Mufflers for the horns on KCS’ trains? Impoundment of any vehicle rattling to the beat of boom-boom rap and other vulgar “music?” Make permanent the downtown post office? Bigger flower beds in Washington Street? More/less trees/plants/other esthetics?

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  1. If I was a corporate executive I would give this port a failed rating. It would get failure rating becouse it hasn’t changed its business model so to speak to compete with the changes happening around it. The real biggest turnoff has been the fact that the local downtown families in thier selfish efforts to keep competition out their marketplace are the ones who hurt it. You don’t change or tweak your business model you’re going to be left behind. Look at the business that have closed due to high rent,high prices. Second nothing hasn’t honestly been done to attract commuters and the commuters have a right to cut this town becouse if lacks class and high end retail. One of the main reasons the high end cinemas don’t want to come here is this. They have made the arguement that this port is to small. And someone like Regel Entertainment they view this port has a weak return of investments. And in the past this town branded itself negatively when certain families refused to let in competitve businesses. Also this town still gets jealous over areas that are economically doing much better than they are. When u have a negative brand in the business community you’re going to be snubbed and rightly so. Also people outside this port have the perception certain entities are fighting the civil war. Not healthy either. Also the city and county don’t want to change thier tax incentives to make businesses more attractive. I wouldn’t be surprised if some corporations have turned this place down becouse of tax base and bad service is another reputation this port has too. If this town and county are going to survive into late into this centurty; an extreme makeover is needed. If not even your locals are going to move out of here. That’s a fact.

  2. The city has done an excellent job of attracting people to and investment in our community. All the growth we see is in the city, while the county continues to lose jobs and industry.

    The issue is with the County Board and the Port Commission. The jobs lost in our community have been because of County policies and short sidedness. The Port Commission is also short sidedness when it comes to vision for the future. The good ole boys on the County Board and the Port Commission appear to have something other than the best interest of the community at heart. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    The good ole boys on the County Board, George, McDonald and Lauderdale are all good guys in my opinion. Unfortunately there is no vision from that group to attract or keep business. They appear to be focused on collecting tax, keeping a low profile and staying away from conflict. It is their recipe for re-election. What we need on the County Board is aggressive pursuit of business and investment in Warren County combined with doing everything they can to keep business here. Instead we have policies that have driven away large employers such as Calsonic and Simpson Duravent.

    The fiasco of Simpson Duravent leaving is a prime example of the County Boards priorities. Rather than coming to a reasonable solution to keep the jobs and tax base secure the County insisted Simpson Duravent pay the regressive inventory tax. Why? Is it because the County didn’t want to rework their budget? Is it because the County didn’t want to consider how that tax impacts business? That tax made Simpson Duravent weigh the value of staying in Warren County. This was after Simpson Duravent invested over 20 million dollars in new equipment at the facility. New equipment that made the County Supervisors foam at the mouth over the tax they could impose on the investment in our community. We can see the results. Hundreds of job losses and hundreds of thousands, if not millions of tax revenue dollars lost. The County also sent a clear message to any large employers that were thinking of coming here – Your business will be better off in California (the most hostile and heavily taxed business environment in America) than in Warren County.

    The Ceres Plantation Spec building is another example of the failed policies in the County and the Port Commission. How can a building sit vacant for 15 years? Here’s how, no one has the ability to attract an occupant. In the city, under the Leyens administration the city has flourished, businesses are investing and growing, people are building new homes and the outlook for the city is very good. Leyens had the ability to envision a path to make it happen.

    Under the last 15 years of the same ole boys on the Warren County Board the County has done little to improve, and taken several steps backwards. For Warren County to grow the County Board has to invest in our future, make deals and do away with policies that harm the business climate. The business of Warren County should be business, not taxation.

    The Port Commission is in the same place as the County. Good people all, no vision and to this point no apparent sales ability. When the new director took office there was hope for positive change in the business climate. Since he has been in place a separation has developed between the Commission and the City administration. The new director (nice guy) spent his time on the annual Washington trip lobbying for a water tower that benefited only a few well positioned individuals when he should have been working with the city (who has been getting results) to develop a joint venture beneficial to the greatest number of people. I read in this forum something about an Inspection Station at the Port that would attract 800 high paying longshoremen jobs. Seems to me something of that magnitude would have been high on the agenda when meeting with Benny Thompson (Chair of Homeland Security). Instead we spent that time talking about a water tower. This type of small thinking by the Port Commission should enrage those who care about Warren County becoming prosperous.

    That begs this question – ‘Do those in a position to make positive change want positive change?’

    – If so they are failing and should be replaced.
    – If not then they are meeting their goal.

    Is either a good thing for Warren County? How long will Warren County continue to support those who are keeping Warren County down?

    These are my opinions and perspective looking from the outside in; correct me if I am wrong. I wonder if anyone from the Port Commission or County will respond.

    Gentlemen clarify the issues for us.

    Communicate your vision.

  3. Now here’s more why Simpson Duravent pulled out all together. Simpson was taken over by a Russian company just last year. On top of that the housing market downturn was one of the major factors too. Now the county is getting desperate with tax excemptions. I doubt if they could keep Simpson from pulling out. Even the CEO of the company must’ve seen this place has no vision at all.

  4. Chuck and Just Sayin, I appreciate your comments and visionary thinking. Also, for putting it in writing. For those who have come frome the outside and see the potential of Warren County, this town could be another Carmel someday. Vicksburg just needs more investors who are willing to force change. Look at what Robert Ware has done for example.

  5. Simpson Duravent was not bought by a foreign company. I think you are thinking of another group. The housing market downturn was an issue for the company and they looked at what worked and what didn’t work. If Warren County had any foresight they would have grasped this and done everything they could to get Simpson to move all their operations here.

    It could have been done. Instead we were bullheaded and lost those jobs along with damaging our chances of attracting other companies to Warren County.

    Robert and Todd have done a great job, finally, of getting those businesses going. Robert needs to quit being such an unpleasant person. Let Todd manage the people and be in the forefront. Robert has made so many people angry he best have deep pockets or great connections outside of Vicksburg. Many many many people refuse to go there and spend their money because Robert has been so unpleasant with them. This is not a large metropolis in California where you see random people all day, you have to be nice.

    Especially if you are in the service business!

    The Valley development, the Trustmark Building development, the VCVB building development, the Waterways Museum, the Transportation Museum are all grand additions to our downtown. The downtown is leading the revival for the rest of the community.

    Don’t forget, we have a new casino to boot.

    Why can’t the County get it together?

  6. Sweeties, as far as issues, next election we have to vote in a new mayor. I think we will do better if we elect a gay male or female Vicksburg’s next mayor. After all, lesbians and gay men are lots smarter than the average female or male. They’re gentler, kinder, sweeter… oh, poo! it makes me warm inside just wondering about all the delicious guys out there reading this. We could get together and talk sooo.. sweetly about our next mayor… Oh, darn, I have to go and take a cool shower…

  7. I would vote for either if they could produce the results our current mayor is producing. Oh hey, our current mayor is running again, why not just vote for him.

  8. We have no one to blame but ourselves for putting the same “good ole boys” back in as supervisors. We voted Lauderdale out because everyone was tired of him doing nothing and we put young Flanders in who tried his best to change things. He held meetings for the public and he tried to get the other supervisors to make changes and they continued to vote him down. So, what happened? Lauderdale got voted back in because Flanders couldn’t get anything done and it wasn’t his fault. McDonald came within a few votes of being beaten. There is a lot of negativity on the Board of Supervisors. They still live in the dark ages and seem to be afraid of change. Maybe they all need to take a course on positive government growth!

    As long as we keep voting them back in, we will get the very same thing.

  9. If one was to study the history of this region,Warren County and Vicksburg you find some interesting facts. For quite awhile there has always been this intense friction and rivalery between the city and the county. For example those who lived in the city snubbed those who lived in the county becouse they want to get away from the city taxes. In reality city and county taxes overlapp. Now this fractious riverly came to a head last year over the fact the city didn’t allow to the fireman to put out a fire that was the closest. Honestly the city and county whose put thier own agendas over the voters are the one who hurt the area overall. Now I believe the county has acted really late with Simpson Duravent. Another fact: these narrow minded leaders we have ignore what the State Economic Development leaders. Especially developing this port into a riverport. Which should’ve been done over thirty years ago.

  10. I’m no politician, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out people come to a city or county which offers the most for them. That means jobs, good shopping, good schools, housing and recreation. If you don’t have jobs, you can’t have the other. So, first and foremost, we have to have companies that offer good paying jobs for people to come and stay here. If that means tax breaks, you do it to keep them here and keep your people working. If the companies leave, the people have to leave and there goes your other businesses and recreation. That is about as simple as it gets.

    Bottom line is in order to survive, we must have good solid corporations here that people can work and plan on retiring from. It is our elected official’s jobs to see that those corporations stay here at any cost. If they can’t do that, what good are they?

  11. Real terrific point Betty.
    Now here’s a cruel reality that has hit the local politicians. I wonder what is like to be told that your community is to small. Now that emerged from the mayor when he was in coference in with the local manufactuers. U see the port and county are no 13 in population on the US census. Vicksburg nor Warren County haven’t moved up nor down. What the mayor try to explain is the fact that commuters don’t want to live here becouse of no retail and restraunts. In the past I learned this community has turned a number of businesses. When u turned down,that brands a negative image. Real question who told NO to these business in the first place.

  12. Chuck, a city can’t turn down a business that presents itself properly.

    If a business tried to locate here and was stopped by the city it is because that business lacked proper code or legal standing.

    You might want to check your source on that information, why would they tell you something that incredulous? Then ask yourself if they have another motive for spreading lies of that magnitude.

  13. Just Sayin some of the senior citizens whom I asked questions have told me this. Like Standard Oil wanted to come here a long time and they were refused. But a number of seniors have told me that a lot of businesses have been turned away. They point the fingers at the local downtown families for this. The Jabours,even the Leyens family had a role. Get this blocking Sears warranties for example. Thier motive is that they really scared of competition. Now some still get jealous like their ancestors did over 100 yrs ago when someplace does better than they do.

  14. Time Out Chuck!

    Remember the rules of Vicksburg Speaks. “No personal attacks!”

  15. On the above comment about the Ware House… we went there last night to hear Graham/Turner play some standards.

    It was excellent on every level. The atmosphere is elegant, the service was as good as it gets, the music by Barry Graham and Craig Turner was far more than I expected. Robert talked with us for a couple of minutes and it was a joy.

    Way to go Robert and Todd, you knocked it out of the park!

    FYI, Graham/Turner will be playing there every Tuesday night, and will be there this Friday, the 13th. I highly recommend you check it out.

  16. I was listening to Live from the Klondyke this morning and one of the cohosts she says there’s a rumor going around that Laurence Leyens wants to annex whole of Warren County. Has anyone heard this rumor? Well it’s related for this third reelection term.

  17. I love that show.

    Sounds to me like someone who is trying to scare people off of voting for Leyens…not that it matters, only residents of the City can vote for the Mayor so it won’t matter this election. The next election may be tough if there is strong resistance in the Country.

    But let’s say for the purpose of conversation he did annex the county, what would be the end result?

    Efficient government led by someone with a vision, sales ability and a strong desire to get things done. Those good ole boys on the Country Board best get their act together. I favor code enforcement, efficient city services and combined resources to reduce our tax.

  18. County, I meant to say County and it came out Country.

  19. Just sayin. I agree with you!! things would be a lot better.. maybe the Mayor will do it..I would not be opposed . Like you say things would get done.


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