Municipal Leaders Address Economy and Expand TrainingBy Rhonda Miller | Published 25 Jun 2012 07:29pm |
Nearly 3,000 leaders from across the state are sharing strategies at the Mississippi Municipal League Conference in Biloxi. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports local decision-makers are getting skills to keep their towns moving forward through tough economic times.
In his training sessions at the municipal league conference, Director of the Stennis Institute of Government Marty Wiseman addresses the tension caused by tight budgets.
"That’s a discussion you hear a lot down here. Expectations in tough times are making it a tougher job. Municipal government can be a very dicey thing ‘cause you’re dealing with your friends and neighbors and having to tell them ‘no’ sometimes."
Yazoo City Mayor McArthur Straughter says a few years ago the city went to a four-day week so they didn’t have to lay off employees. The budget is more stable now and those kinds of measures aren't necessary. Straughter says now the focus now is on the heart of Yazoo City.
“We’re trying to revitalize our downtown area. Because especially in the Delta most of the towns, stuff is moving from downtown and out on the edges, so we’re trying to bring back that life downtown."
Just east of Jackson, Mayor Knox Ross of Pelahatchie says many Mississippi areas face issues common to small towns across the country.
"They have a unique set of challenges and a lot of those is just retaining talent and retaining people and getting people to come invest in those towns. We’re on the edge of the Jackson metropolitan area, so we have an advantage of location, in that we are starting to get young families moving there."
Municipal leaders are also addressing issues including public schools, economic development and healthy communities. The municipal conference runs through Wednesday.
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