Vicksburg Municipality Election 2021 3rd Debate: V105.5 FM/The Vicksburg Post Mayoral Town Hall
7:20PM Jun 2, 2021
Mark Jones (Moderator # 1)
Emily Tillman (Moderator # 2)
George Flaggs, Jr. (Mayor)
I'm Mark Jones and we have our three candidates for Mayor tonight. We have The Vicksburg Post helping us with this endeavor this evening. We appreciate Catherine Hadaway, the fine job she's doing as a publisher of The Vicksburg Post. Her new editor is Anna Guizerix A lot of us have known Skipper Guizerix for a long time, including myself, great guy, Skipper. And Anna is going to do a fabulous job I know, at The Vicksburg Post as their new editor, and she just started a few days ago. We're getting questions from them for our mayoral candidates. And we're going to let them introduce themselves. With their biographical information. We have three candidates running for mayor, Mr. Daryl Hollingsworth, Mr. Troy Kimble, and Mr. George Flaggs, Jr. and they all have visions for the city. We're going to talk about this here in a little while. And, guys, if it gets as heated to that last debate, we're going to be in business here. And maybe it won't be. [group laughter] But this is actually a political forum, we're going to try to get information to people, that's the main thing. We don't need to have a whole lot of heated arguments or anything like that unless you really want to, but what we're going to do is give you time to answer the question in please try not to talk at the same time, we'll try to get to each one of you as best we can give you about the same amount of time as best we can. And if you'd keep your answers short, that'll probably help us out. You want to expound on some things though, feel free to do so. So first of all, I'm going to start out and ask each of you to talk a little bit about yourself, where you came from how you got to be in the position to decide to run for mayor in the case of Mayor Flaggs. A little bit about your previous history that maybe some people may not realize. Now let's start out with say, Daryl Hollingsworth. We'll start with you Daryl and tell us a little bit about yourself and what you've been doing, say over the past 30 or 40 years so people will know who you are.
Okay. My name is Daryl Hollingsworth and I moved to Vicksburg in 1984. I worked at Grand Gulf and I continued to a career with Entergy for 24 years. I resigned in 2008 to pursue my efforts downtown. And in that year, I was working on The Valley and we finished that up September of '09. And basically since that point, I have been working on our downtown. Of course I have two kids that I'm very proud of amber and Caleb and we raised them here and they are still here and they are flourishing.
Okay, and now let's go to Troy Kimble. Troy, tell us a little bit about you and some of your history.
Good evening. My name is Troy Kimble and I am a native of Vicksburg, I graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1989. And I continued on my education at Jackson State University, at Southern University, and at Belhaven actually. I worked as an IT consultant for EDS Bellsouth and AT&T for approximately about 20 plus years, and I'm also a self employed IT consultant. In 2005 prior to Katrina, I was working on a project on the coast. Hurricane Katrina came through and actually wiped out Waveland, Mississippi is where my office was. And we started into law enforcement. And what brings me to this is that, I'll just give us a brief story about how I got into wanting to be into public service. We did an exercise one night at the, at the Academy, and I graduated top cop at the academy, and the one, this last exercise, the director had us to go out late one evening to do something. And I finished first every time and the director pulled me over to the side. He said "What are you doing?" And I looked at him like "what do you mean, what am I doing, I finished first?" Well, he told me the actual intent of this exercise was not to be finished first, but to get those who were not finishing first and bring them as a leader up to where you are, or get them and push from the rear and actually entice them to do better for themselves. And that was my epiphany. That was my, what turned it on and said "Hey, there's more to this than than just you and just yourself." And so at that point, public safety and public service became my my, my interest and became my passion.
Okay, and George Flaggs, Jr.
Well, thank you. First let me start by saying thank you Mark, and thank you, Catherine from The Vicksburg Post. It's my honor to be here as mayor, I've been mayor for 8 years now. I served 25 years in the legislature and then I retired and was pretty much drafted into running for mayor and I've enjoyed it ever since. Let me just say something, as relates to my background, for the last 33 years I've been involved in being a mayor and being a state representative. And and I've loved every bit of it, I want nothing more but to continue to serve this city, with the passion that I got for this city, I want the city to continue to grow and be the city that it can be, I know we can do it. I know that we're on the pathway to great future in the city. And I want nothing more but to continue to work with this Mayor Board of Aldermen and going forward and doing the things that we know we can do about working together. This is a great city. I love this city, and I'd do anything for this city.
And we appreciate what all three of you are doing and are attempting to do for the City of Vicksburg. And we're going to get into some of these things tonight. And as we go along, we'll try to answer a lot of questions that we've had phoned in to us here at the radio station this afternoon. We'll answer questions at The Vicksburg Post has, and we're still getting I understand some questions from time to time from an audience listening tonight. I want to ask this question. First. Start with you, Daryl Hollingsworth, and then you, Troy. What is your problem with Mayor Flaggs administration in so why is it that you're running for mayor? Daryl Hollingsworth?
Well, I'm running for mayor because I think my focus or my experience in the past has been with infrastructure. And I think our infrastructure is where we need to turn our focus. And with our limited budget, that we have, it seems like a lot, but when you look at half of it is actually salaries, you don't really have a lot of money to work with every year. So I think if we focus our attention on training our employees, I think with my proven skills, I think that we can fix our infrastructure and bring our communities closer together. Also, we can rid the city of some of the problems that we have.
Okay, and so you're you're thinking that there's some infrastructure issues going on that are not being properly attended to? Is that what you're telling me?
Oh, absolutely. If you look at we dig the same holes up two or three times before we actually fix them.
Okay, well, we're gonna let Mayor Flaggs respond to that momentarily. But let's go to Troy Kimble and ask you, what is your problem with the with the mayor and his administration that causes you to want to run for mayor Troy?
Well, first of all, I don't really say per se, I think there's a problem. What I think is that I can bring a different perspective to solve some issues that we have in the city, and that has that have not adequately been addressed. We know the hot buttons right now are crime, infrastructure and urban development, we know that we know the mayor's history his and what he's, you know, he's brought. But I go back to one thing that he mentioned in the Vicksburg Daily News debate that we had not long ago, and was about ego. And what I see about about the ego of it is, is that it's about putting me forward and first, more so, than we're putting politics over people. And I think we need to take the politics out of it and do what's right. And I'll get into that a little bit later on as we go into other topics. But I think the main issue that I have, is that we really need to move this city forward, and take ourselves out of the equation. And one of the most, I guess, my ideology of this is, can be best summed up by a quote from our President Harry Truman, Harry S. Truman, and it says, "It's amazing what you can accomplish when we don't care who gets the credit." And so I don't think there was a problem with what the mayor has done. I think he's done a great job. However, I think that I bring a different perspective and that to get us past the plateau of where we are right now in the city.
Okay, Mayor Flaggs. Well, why don't you take these to run it against you? And can you respond a little bit to the situation here where [inaudible group talking]
I can't respond to why anybody would be run against me, I will say this, it is my hope. It is my prayer, that they wouldn't run against me they are run for what's in the best interest of the city, and that they can keep the pathway of prosperity and growth of the city going. It's not about me. I don't like people to to think that I'm all it, what would happen if I die tomorrow, somebody is going to take my place and so we ought to be putting in place things that we know that are good for this city regardless of who's the mayor, both of these gentlemen are good guys, Troy, one of the best investigator policeman I know. I've worked around him. Daryl, one of the best construction worker, he does a great job downtown. He's helped us build this city. And I want nothing more to continue to work with these guys as mayor of this city, and be able to collaborate with them when this is over. Thank God, this will be over on Tuesday, and I want to be able to work with them. I don't want to concentrate on why they ran against me. They have the constitutional right. And I I respect that. But I've learned a lot from both of these guys. I learned a lot from Shawn Jackson. I learned a lot from Willis Thompson, The election is about assessment, evaluation of what you've done. I know I haven't been perfect, but I've been working toward perfection. And we're working on it. And all I want is nothing more but the opportunity to continue to do this and yes, if I'm reelected on Tuesday, I'm gonna work with Daryl. I'm gonna work with Troy, I'm gonna work with Shawn, I'm gonna work with Willis Thompson. I'm gonna work with the Board of Supervisors. I'm gonna work with Michael Mayfield. I'm gonna work with Alex Monsour. Because I want what's best for this city. That's all I want.
All right. Emily, you probably have some questions, maybe some from The Vicksburg Post, and some from yourself and some that have been sent in to you on social media, as well as phoned in questions that I have some more follow ups after this. Emily, go right ahead.
Sure. I have one from a listener on Facebook. And we'll start with you Daryl Hollingsworth and then Troy Kimble, and then George Flaggs, will keep that going. During the COVID pandemic or anything like such a scenario in the future, when it comes to the municipal government to create mandates and local laws. Should local businesses have the option to run their business how they would like? Or should the local government step in and force new boundaries on the local businesses?
Oh, that's a very tough question. It doesn't matter what you do. During a pandemic, it's going to be looked at by some people as wrong. Now, as far as there, there are some things that I would, wouldn't do, but and I do believe that businesses have their rights to to stay open, if they so choose. And they they, you know, all this caught us off guard. We had to find a vaccine. And so there was some some time where we didn't know what else to do besides shut them down. But outside of that, I would say, yes, everybody should use their own judgment. But but that is, that's very tough question. And and I gone leave that as my answer. And you could, you could twist it any which way you want to. But I think that's pretty close to how I feel.
Well, let me just say this coming from a public safety, background, and a business background, you'd have to actually use the common sense approach, mean government, you are actually the voters have put you in that position to actually take care of their safety, public safety is a part of what we have to do. And if we're doing something that's not keeping our citizens safe, that's causing discourse in our health, and the actual economy of the city, I think we have to actually take once again, ourselves out of the equation and look at what's the greater good for the city. Because if we don't have people that are healthy, who's going to run, who's going to be there for the economy, who's going to be there period?" So we have to make those tough decisions. And I know everyone is not going to agree with the decisions that are made. But the decisions that were made, I think they were made, not so much. And I'll speak for me, I would not make a decision without actually consulting the experts on it would actually consulting the numbers, consulting the physicians, consulting, those who know more about that thing than I do. And then as a leader, I'd make that decision. But I'd make the decision not just by myself, but it's also you have to actually talk to the people that is affecting, you get with the business owners, you get with the other people, you actually ask the tough questions, and you sorted out you you actually just sorted out and you have to do what needs to be done is vetted is a vetting process. And but at the end of the day, we have to make sure that we're safe. And you take the common sense approach to that. And if we can get citizens to buy in and understand that it's not something that's being done to alienate you or to infringe upon your rights, but to keep you safe. And I think once we do that, from a leadership perspective, I think that that goes over, more so than being something to saying that I'm mandating something of this, but actually showing them that is not something that I am trying to force down your throat, but we have to do it for purpose.
Absolutely. Major Flaggs.
Let me just say something, I'm very proud of the leadership that I provided, during the COVID administration. Some of those decisions were tough. I listened to the experts, I listened the CDC, I listened to the Presidential Task Force on the virus. I listened to the local leaders like Dr. Edney, Dr. Latorre, Dr. Easterling, those people, I talked to them every Monday. Them being at the hospital, I talked to them every Monday I mean to get, I looked at data, I made the decisions based on, had we not made some of the decisions we made when we made the decision, we'd been in the hot spot a lot earlier. We were ahead of the curve. The governor was was was talking to me about what we were doing in Vicksburg, I was talking to him, I was I was doing what we thought. I know some of the businesses had hardships, but some of them same businesses that complaining, was the first one to go get the PPP money. But at the same time, they want to complain about their business. Yeah, it is hard sometimes, when you see business struggle, but at the same time, I called the restaurant owners to a meeting, I called the clergymen because it affected their church, I call every business entity in this city, to my to the office or somewhere I didn't make these decisions, because I liked them, I made the decisions to mitigate and to minimize the death. And I think we did that. I went to a lot of funerals that had to do with COVID that's heartfelt. A call a many hospitals talking to people who call the hospital talking to people about their condition and things. I'm proud of the way we did it, I think we led the city. I've read a book by a guy by the name of Dewayne Freeman that said "leaders listen, learn, and they lead." And that's exactly what I did.
And I wanna ask, Mayor Flaggs, you have made a tremendous amount of connections, in addition to all those that you've had in the last debate with the two Alderman candidates. It was mentioned about connections. Now I want to know, you just seem to have been very successful not only in doing this but making things happen through connections. I wonder how you think you've been able to do all that. And then I want to ask the other two candidates, how you could accomplish something that Mayor Flaggs is done with this because he's been in there with the President on down doing different things.
Well, Mark, that's what I do. What I do is form relationships that matter. I think relationship will matter whether you're Republican, Democrat, black, white, a woman or a man, I think when you have relationship when time comes for a meeting, you can rely on that. So I done this in the leglislature for 26 years, I have a reputation in this state for working with people. When you look at my campaign finance, we look everything about me is Republican, Democrat, black, white man, young, old people that contributed to it because they know that I know who I am and whose I am. So that's what I do. I think relationship matters. You shouldn't spend a lot of time worrying about who in power, you should spend time trying to make certain that you follow the money. Everybody pay taxes. So why you should pay tax and then when it gets to the White House, just because you got a republican say, "oh, I don't want my, I don't want the money back." No, I want I want the money. We got about $59 million dollars in the last eight years of my administration because of the relationships. I'm proud of the relationships I got with people. one of the reason why I'm running as an independent is because the fact I know as a Democratic or Republican you have to make policy decisions. But as a mayor, you have to make a decision based on how you can best provide the quality service at the least cost to the taxpayer. That's what I do. T.D. Jakes said something I'll never forget it that morning. "The minute you know who you are, that's the minute you know who you're not." And I'm not the person that's not going to work with somebody. Biblical teach me that, my Sunday school teacher taught me that you work with people you do unto others you have them to do unto you. So that's who I am and I'm proud of that.
Okay, and I want to ask Daryl Hollingsworth in Troy Kimble, that same question, how would you make connections and who are some people maybe that you're connected with that you might be able to align yourself with to help the city of Vicksburg, Daryl?
Well, if you look down downtown and I, and I hate to keep preaching on downtown, but most of the businesses down there, I either hired them or either I was involved in some way of leading them there. Whenever the MCITY building the contract got settled on on that Building, I had a group from North Carolina that wanted to turn that building into 56 apartments and build a hotel for the convention center. But whenever the bids got opened the, the, the other party won the bid because we wouldn't get into a bidding contest. But I still have those contacts, I have contacts with the government workers that are out at ERDC and different places that are interested in different things in in Vicksburg, and I intend to help them in any way I can. Because what we need is more jobs, we need more people. You know, when I started out downtown, 16 years ago, I wanted to or what I had heard Leland Speed speak on was if you could get 2000 people living in one square mile, you could create a micro economy. So that was that was what I focused on with all the apartments that that are being built or in have been built downtown. And I think we are close to achieving that goal. And I think we're close enough that I can step away from that. I can step away from downtown and focus my energy on other parts of the city. There's other parts of the city that that are just as bad as Washington Street was 16 years ago.
Okay, Troy Kimble, let's talk about connections a minute, tell us something you have and how you could help the city with those connections that you had?
Well, first off, let me say this about about connections, and name dropping and all that. The issue that I have with that is that you're making that step. And they say the 1000 mile journey begins with what the very first step. So regardless of if I'm connected to the White House, or if I've been connected to the governor, if I've met this person, I've met that person, it's about the leadership quality that you have within you. And if you are intelligent enough to go and have a conversation, especially in government, with those persons, just because I may not be your buddy, I may not be able to get on the inside track. But if it's coming down from those people, and Shame on them if they don't, because I'm not there, buddy, but we know that it's the right thing to do. Now taking nothing away from Mayor Flaggs and his connection because his 1000 mile journey began 26 years and he's made those connections. I've made connections with fortune 500 company CEOs throughout this entire country in which I travel and do classes and teach through law enforcement as well as IT and other things. So those are connections, but as far as government connections, no, but do I have connections enough to where we can bring certain jobs and centers to here for Vicksburg, Yes, I do. And it's not about who those people are. It's about being able to go intelligently speak with them, get them to understand, to buy into what you need, and as a leader, ask for that help and go out and get it.
This is a political forum with the three candidates for mayor, Mr. Troy Kimble, Mr. Daryl Hollingsworth, and George Flaggs Jr, the incumbent mayor, and we're discussing different issues tonight. Daryl Hollingsworth, you brought up about working not just on Washington Street... earlier this afternoon, I had a lady call up here to the radio station and asked about people's plans for fixing up downtown off of Washington Street because we still we have a corridor and right down here where we are. We have issues in this area. And so they wanted to know, and I said tell them I'd be glad to ask that question in this tonight to find out a little bit about what your plans are for other areas of downtown that in some cases are dilapidated, that have been neglected for many, many years and would like to know what the plans are that each of you might have for some of the areas that are not on Washington Street, Mr. Hollingsworth.
Okay. If you notice that clay street is one of our corridors and we have worked for years on trying to get people to come from the Military Park to downtown or to some other part of Vicksburg, where you know, you could capitalize on some of that those dollars. And the problem with our Clay Street is it's four lane and our traffic is too fast. And if you if we were to concentrate on building the brick road like on Washington Street from the Military Park to downtown with parking spaces, that it has been proven that slowing the traffic down and returning it to two lane would would give you time to notice other businesses along Clay Street and they would absolutely make it grow, just as Washington Street has grown. Now, that being said, Grove Street would have to become a thoroughfare it would have to have red lights and all associated with it to get the traffic from their back to Hope Street. But that's one example. The other examples are tax abatements and George says that I'm the tax abatement kid. But they do work. And I would like to, I would like to offer that to anybody that builds a house or takes an old house and remodels it in in the city of Vicksburg, I would like to offer them that tax abatement. So that your taxes would not go up for seven years, they would be locked in. And at the end of the seven years, they would go up for your improvements, and that would give the city enough revenue to to help pay for the cost of the infrastructure.
Okay, and Troy Kimball, talk a little bit about the off Washington Street area of downtown in what you think would be good ideas to improve it?
Well, one thing I think, is that Washington Street, hey that's been a great job done downtown, but I think we should transplant that same energy and effort to the neighborhoods in our community. We look at the cleanliness of the neighborhoods, we look at the drainage, we look at the debris and all the other things that are going throughout the city, why can't we move that same energy and that same desire to have this you know, oasis in Vicksburg to all the entire neighborhoods, you know, we talked about Hollingsworth mentioned about Clay Street, it is one of our main thoroughfares, Washington Street coming in, old 61 we need to build up and like I said, once again, that infrastructure is is our is one of the hot buttons right now one of the hot topics that we need to deal with. And in doing so in making people believe in I was listening in on the Alderman session or spot that you had earlier. And they were talking about the grass and the other things that are being cut. What I'm saying right now, just to sum it all up is just to stop with the smoke and mirrors stop with the the political rhetoric about what we need to do and just pull the trigger. And what I mean by pull the triggers just actually get the funding that we know it's out there, use it for the right reasons what it was earmarked for, and not only building up one area, but make sure all of our citizens that are paying taxes, all of our citizens are tapping in and being a part of that better quality of life. And it's just about doing the right thing. And I think once we start doing the right thing for everyone, then you're going to you're going to see a better growth in Vicksburg, you're gonna see more people that are wanting to stay because we are the red carpet city of the South. And I said before, you know, we have a few stains on it, and we're gonna have to work together to get it get it done. And that's going to be a collaborative effort between the city government and in the citizens.
Okay, and Mayor Flaggs the same question for you.
You know, Mark, I never thought I'd be blamed for further development and growth downtown by creating some tax incentives and abatement. Yes, and to financing some historic tax credits and those type things. But yes, let me say something the fastest way to grow a city is through retail and small business. I believe that we have created a pathway where we can go we can go East when you see that construction of a new highway. I mean, a new bridge and road going over to the Outlet Mall. Outlet Malls are out in a lot of places. I think we can bring that back into some retail development and it's in some eatery places there're people right now are trying to get into Vicksburg and invest on that side of town right now because that road that we got in when you go south I think that's where you most undeveloped land, I think once we do the airport once we do some other things in the south part of this city like bringing some apartment complexes, bringing some houses out on Indiana Avenue. I think you're going to see the connection and then yes Kings. We cannot forget Kings. I will not forget Kings. I say it all the time, we saved Anderson Tully, we're about to name another company in that area soon. We got Clifford Jeffers investing up there. That's just the beginning, he's gonna have some shops and and those type things a strip mall, and that is a great beginning. We got to pave that road going up through there. We got some things going up in the city. Let me just tell you something, growing a city sometime take phases, takes time. We've teed it up. I think we're headed in the right direction. I never in my adult life ever witnessed so much excitement about Vicksburg, about people coming. I just left from Cocktail 101, a man here following his son, he's working for the Corps. He said he had no idea that this city was so beautiful. This city was was was like it was, he wants to come and invest. And I asked him to go to lunch with me next week. He said "You the mayor?" I say, "Well, yes." He said "You inviting me right now to go to lunch with me to further the conversation?" That's what I do. When I go downtown and meet with folks. I'm proud of the direction that this city is going, for the exception of one area and Troy hit on it, crime. I'm not, we don't have the crime statistics like Jackson (and) others, but I'm not completely satisfied with the crime. And I think I got a plan that's gonna work there. And Troy, you my guy.
Can I? I need to, I need to stop that and cut that right off right now. That's that's not that's not we're not going to try to try to re re...
...Is that a "no", Troy?...
...let me let me say this...
Is that a "no"?...
Let me, let me say this. I want to say go back to something about Kings. And and I did make a bid for Northward Alderman and we talk about Kings and these other areas. And it's nice to mention those things doing an election time. But we've been here for I don't know how many years Kings has been, was annexed over almost, what, 28, 30 years ago? If not more, and nothing has been done in that area to to enhance it. So why now at election time, we're talking about what we're going to do, how are we going to do it, and then to, you know, it's it's, it's, in essence, for those people that live in that area, the floodplains and all the other things that's going on, it should be insulting. And what you just said to me is insulting. And and I'll say this, because I want to I want this to not be and for viewers and listeners not to have a two for one type thing. Because if we were talking about it, you know, and I looked at your flyer today, Mayor, and by no means is this an attack. But this has to be said, I looked at your flyer today, and it said something about crime, and that you're going to make it safer. And you're gonna do this and to do that. So finally, you're getting it, so of the eight years that you disband the police department when there was 100% solvable rate on all violent crimes. Unprecedented. But as you told me, if I don't get what I want the first time, I'm gonna get it the second time. And so you change the charter purposely so that you would be the only person to have the autonomy, if I may finish, have the autonomy to nominate the police chief, you did, you moved Walter Armstrong out, Sandra Williams, who was my director at the time, we had that I worked as, as you say the best. And I appreciate that. I worked as the liaison for I was your sniper. I was your hostage negotiator. I was your, hold on. Let's, let's keep going. I've protected presidential cabinet members here in Vicksburg. We led the homicide division, there were none unsolved. So why now, at election time, do I get job descriptions? And all these other things, we need to make sure that we're pushing crime forward and is not because what we've done so far, and what has happened, has put the city at risk. And now to go back and ask families to reelect, and you'll have an arrest or you have this, that, it's insulting Mr. Mayor, and I'm I'm sorry. [inaudible everyone is speaking at once]
Troy, I don't want to insult you at all. But half of what you read was your idea.
I actually have a question for The Vicksburg Post. It's sort of along the same lines and I'll start with you Mr. Hollingsworth. What are your plans to crack down on crime and specifically shootings in the city?
Crime has gotten out of hand and and to, I would like to go back to that, the last thing that I believe Mr. Flaggs ran on last election that if he could get one more vote, he would replace our police chief. And he did. And since then, our crime has has spiraled. We also cut our youth programs. And with the combination of the two you see that the 16 to 25 year olds are the ones that are causing committing a lot of crimes. I think the two go hand in hand. We also have to hire trained and police officers. We are at probably our lowest in the last 10 years of as far as the number of active certified full time police officers that we have on duty. We the part times are a good to fill in but it also at the same time. Create creates animosity within the Force whenever they're making $25 an hour and the average police officers making $14. So we have to get the pay up to a livable wage. And that's what I say about all of our city workers, we. And when I go back to infrastructure, and I want to touch on that, we have to get our city workers, I would like to, to have a four year apprenticeship progression, so that at the end of four years, they would be making journeymen wages and they could work and do their job proficiently. And at the same time, they would be learning life skills, and these life skills they could take with them, and they would last them the rest of their life.
Mr. Kimble, what are your plans to crack down on crime and specifically shootings in the city?
(coughs) Excuse me, is to do what we what we did when we when we stopped it before. And that's putting the "enforcement" back in law enforcement. And as the mayor/police commissioner, which I don't know what weight that actually holds, but it would actually be able to have an intelligent conversation with whomever the chief is. And going back to what we said before, about, you know (laughs) the job, you know, and what we're trying to do, you know, we this job that he's speaking of about my ideas that are here. And I read the article in the paper, you said that the post misquoted you on but I read the article, and it stated that you hadn't even spoken with the Chief about it, or with Alderman Mayfield so but you have Monsour on board with you to make this happen. So that's where we are talking about in stopping the shootings, it starts with leadership, it starts with command presence. And once you get out there, and you get those people in place, yes, the salary is ridiculous for police officers, I started out at $12.65 in 2005, it's $14.75. Now with an incentive for an officer and that's only $2.10 in 16 years, it is ridiculous. But not only that, we're talking about the recruiting, I looked on the website the other day, and the patch that's on the website, excuse me, that's on the website, is the one that I started with in 2005. We don't even wear that uniform anymore. So if I got someone that's actually wanting to come into this department, wanting to come into this city, we're not showcasing what we are and who we are, as law enforcement officers. There are a lot of great men and women that work in law enforcement, and they dedicate their lives to people that they will probably never even know or are against them because of just doing the job that they're doing. We have to make sure that our citizens understand and that we're going to enforce and how we're going to enforce, we're going to enforce it. As if we were not the police, and we needed the police. We're going to do it sternly, we're going to do it with compassion, and we're going to do it fairly. And when you get that in, and you get the buy-in from the citizens that are backing for community policing, that's where it starts, they have to have the trust of the community. And once you get the trust of the community, all these shootings will stop. Because once we let them know that that's not gonna be tolerated. We get out there and we enforce it. And I don't want to be micro, a micro manager of the police department. But I want to make sure I have the intelligence enough from my experience to put the people in place that can do the job.
First of all, let me just say that, that data right there. I had them to pull it today because I knew this conversation would come up, crime. Crime is going down in Vicksburg and been going down in Vicksburg. What happened is last year in 2020, we had 11 homicides, which most folks are putting on the front burner as crime was rampant in Vicksburg. No, it's not. Now, as it relates to your question, you're right. The shooting has got to stop. And we're going to stop it. I think that the plan that I laid out about having, which I thought was gonna be Mr. Troy, but he don't want it, but the other three guys will take it.
I'm running for Mayor [inaudible group speak]
Hold on, hold it. [Moderator laughs] So you don't want it so I'm gonna offer it to the other three, three people that has the qualifications also and been to the FBI Academy so that we can collaborate with the FBI and other things. And we can be able to think there's another tool that Mr. Lassiter brought to me that I'd like to look at. It is a ballistic tool that you can put on telegram pole, and when a gun is fired, you know exactly what a gun is coming from in the area. I want to use those type of tools and technology to help the police officers. The cameras are helping. When we put cameras in the neighborhood and now the mobile cameras, they help even driving by at night with the lights on are deterring a lot of the crime. Crime is not like you see in other cities where it is just rampant. What crime is here. Every perpetrator knows the victim and the victim knows the perpetrator. You can't stop this kind of crime, people from shooting each other domestic killing, that kind of thing. But we can all, we can continue to crack down on those things. And Daryl, you're right. I believe in zero tolerance in crime. But at the same time, I'm a realist, I have to accept the data. And I have looked at this data. That's why I created a position for someone that has the ability to come in and solve the homicide cases that we have unresolved. As like in Port Gibson where about four or five of them in Claiborne County, that hadn't been resolved. And then I want to turn around, and we want to head off the gang activity that may be coming into the city from other cities. And so I think I'm on top of the crime and the police commission. All a police commissioner is a person that works with the police chief. I try to work with the police chief. He said, Mr. Mayfield didn't know? I spoke about it in the board room. Mr. Mayfield was in the board room, it was on the headline in the paper, I was talking about making a recommendation. Now the second thing is that he that that that the homicide that that's the other thing is that everything I do is transparent. I don't understand when people don't don't hear what I'm saying in a board room, most folks get it that watch channel 23.
I would like to say something about that, if I may. Mr. Mayor, we didn't need a special position created you disband the police department where it was, we had that we had everything in place. So it was to put someone or for whatever reason, remove that. And that's what that's where I'm trying to understand. When you have something that you have 100% solvability rate and you're talking we're going to go about crime 100% solvable, all violent crimes, all shootings. Why would you disband that police department?
Can I answer the question?
You want to be the mayor or a police chief?
I'm running for mayor.
Okay, I'm just checking.
I'm just, I'm just asking the question. Because as mayor, I'll be able to intelligently get the police chief so we wouldn't have to disband and go back to where we were.
I guess I would like to ask Mayor Flaggs one question is why why would you not want this person to report to the police chief? Why would you want him to report only to you?
Because it has no merit. It has basis.
Let me just say something before y'all beat me up
Political smoke and mirrors.
Hold it, before you beat me up, please Daryl and Troy please. That's been corrected. It will, that person will report to the police chief, it's been brought to my attention by many former police officers that that all I was trying to do is to work with ways that we thought we can do better. That's a work in progress. You make a good point, Daryl. Police, former police chiefs, I don't want to call any names and others have said the same thing that has been corrected since the printing of the paper. Okay, so it because you do want to keep everybody in the line of succession. And what I don't want to be the police chief, I want to be the mayor. I want to keep the city going. I want to keep the city growing. That's all I want to do. And I'm trying to get Troy on my side.
It was an empty job offer, is what it was. (group laughter)
Well, I have a question it's along the same lines, and this is from someone on our Facebook. There's a lot of talk about first responder salary and we've touched on that here. Daryl Hollingsworth, what starting salary do you plan to move first responders to and how do you plan to make that happen?
I'm gonna tell you right now, I don't know what first responders make right now. I'm just gonna be honest with you. But I know that if if they are in line with the police officers, then they are not making a livable wage. They're not making enough to live in this day and age. And uh..
Well we'd firstly, and I'll tell you as a police officer, I it's it's heartening, you know that to ask that. So what we'd have to do is actually go out and research and see exactly what the budget will allow, first of all, and then go and see if we can find those extra dollars to actually make that happen because we cannot adequately protect the city with being understaffed. And I've heard that okay, well, yeah, you know, you do this job for honor. And yeah, you do, and you take on that, but I shouldn't have to put that honor on display and not be paid and compensated for it. So what we'll do, we'll look at the avenues that to get us to a direction of cities, there are size for the incentives that are already in place. There are several incentives are in place. There are. But we will make sure that these officers are taken care of but not just the police department. I mean, the fire department, city workers, everyone that's going to make this city move because each, each entity has to work in concert in order to move the city forward. And I think we talked about infrastructure and our infrastructure that we miss the foundation are the people are the citizens that work in the city and live and pay their tax dollars and do the other things as well.
In cooperation with The Vicksburg Post, this is the political roundtable of our mayoral candidates Mr. Troy Kimble, Mr. Daryl Hollingsworth and Mayor George Flaggs, our incumbent mayor. Emily Tillman is along side we have Catherine Hadaway and Anna Guizerix, the new editor of The Vicksburg Post, Catherine being the publisher. And you're listening to WVBG FM Redwood / Vicksburg WVBG and W299CC Newstalk 1490 and 107.7 in Vicksburg. It's now eight o'clock and we're going to continue to give these mayoral candidates about the full hour for about another 15 minutes. I wanna switch gears...
...We need to, well, Mark, I'm sorry, I'm sure Mayor Flaggs, did you want to rebut against what they said? I want to give you a chance, sorry.
I don't, I don't want to rebutt but I will make this comment is that the salaries is not the issue. Most time people say, you can going anywhere, is just the police profession is not bringing in or recruiting the people that want to go into law enforcement, like you used to. You say a first responder, that includes the firemens and the paramedics, I believe all of them should get a raise. I have Doug right now looking at if I'm elected, how can we give across the board raised so that we can raise that. I'm the only mayor of this state that raised the minimum wage twice and never raised the property tax in this city. But that's because the $59 million dollars I go get offset a $30 million dollar budget. We didn't even have a bond rating. And that's what, that's what I do. I'm in, I've been recognized as one of the most fiscally conservative, responsible mayor in this city, because we're paid up. We went through COVID. And we've balanced two budgets. Because the revenue's up last time I think gaming revenues up 369%. That's the highest it's ever been since I've been mayor. You know why? Because this city is growing is going in the right direction. And yes, crime is a part of the challenge for the future. But I'm telling you, it can be handled. We can deal with it. It's a small bubble. On this big bubble we got to fix but I'm for all the employees. All my employees have to buy bread at the same amount of money, not just the law enforcement. I'm for the 400 and some 15 employees we get that's what I do. I help everybody out. We we have done all the things that that they are talking about. We gave the patrolman 50 cents more. They make 20 cents more a hour per year just by being there. I talked to five police officers on an exit interview. Neither one of them said the salary was the reason why they was leaving. You know why they said they was leaving? Because they had opportunities to work and grow in other areas. Quick. Like the one that went to the Attorney General's office. Like the one that went to ERDC. And that's the reason why. I think, for the most part, we, the training is the most important part of what police officers need. And I'd put our firemen and our police against anybody in this state right now.
Hold on, Mr. Hollingsworth, go ahead.
Mr. Mayor, I'm gonna respectfully ask you. Think about what you just said. And look up the definition of a bribe. I think you just bribed all of our workers. Publicly, I think you just made a bribe. If you are elected, you will give them a raise. So they don't get a raise if they don't, if you're not elected.
Where you been?
I believe that's what you just said.
Is that you, Daryl?
That's me (laughs). [group laughter]
Where'd that come from?
(laughs) I would have gotten a job if I had of dropped out of the race so [inaudible group laughter]
Daryl, Daryl that is not a bribe.
You know what the word, the definition of a bribe is?
I do. I do.
No, you got, Daryl, I love you, Daryl.
I love you too, George. [inaudible group laughter]
I just would like to say one thing, if I may.
Go ahead, sir. Go ahead.
No, go ahead.
Well, I wanted to, I wanted to re emphasize and I thought you were going to touch on this Mr. Hollingsworth but Mayor, I wanted to respectfully say this about crime being that just a bubble of it. I think it is more than the bubble. I think it is it encompasses everything because of our citizens don't feel safe. If our city isn't safe. We don't get the investments. We don't get the the citizens we don't get the jobs. We don't get those other things we have got to have and crime being a small bubble. I disagree with that.
Let's switch gears just a little bit. I had a lady call in this afternoon, talking about the senior center and congratulating us for getting our senior center back open again, but she was wondering about the plans for other senior activities. Mayor Flaggs, got any ideas on this? more activities for seniors in our in our community?
Absolutely. We're in the process of, now we have opened our senior service center back up, and we've doing a few things. We just hired an inner city person that is gonna be dealing with a lot of their programs. We have some programs that we're going to be rolling out. Everybody's talking about the pickleball that was one of the fastest growing sports for seniors. And we built a new course. And we doing some other things in our area. I think we need more walking trails in this area. We need more outdoor living, that's what I envision on the on the Mississippi River front when these when these river boats come in and develop, developers sit around so we can have some programs and some outdoor activities. I'd like to see outdoor exercise equipment around the city and things. But yes, and we're going to take that Jackson Street Community Center, and we're going to expand it and enhance it where we will be dealing with kids from third grade all the way up to the seniors. And I think that's what that that would help in in the the revitalization of, of some of the cultural in this city.
Okay, Daryl Hollingsworth, any ideas from you on senior activities?
Well, seniors are very important, and they, I'm just gonna be honest, they have the money. A lot of them are in their golden years, and they want to enjoy life. And I think Vicksburg is already designated as a senior retirement center, or retirement community. With that being said, we have a beautiful property that, all along the river, that's for sale and, and, and like Mr. Mayor Flaggs said, walking trails and all that kind of stuff would be great, too. But I think that our seniors bring an aspect to the city as to where they have been out in the world. They are knowledgeable. And they really keep their eyes open. And they're attuned to what's going on. And with the same thing is, same subject with the, I would like to switch it a little bit to the youth. There are programs such as the Slavic Village Program, and I believe that's in Ohio. And there's another one called the Youngstown Heritage Project. And what they do is they take older houses that are, that have good bones, and they have a nonprofit company come in, and they buy the homes, and they renovate the homes to a point where they can sell them to as starter homes, and they could be used as for seniors, or or starter homes for our youth. And I think that would that dynamic would change a lot of our blighted neighborhoods, and places where we have torn down houses that would be an incentive to, to build our houses back up.
Okay, and Troy Kimble, any ideas on senior activities,
I would like to take a different approach to it. And we just went through and we're still going through the pandemic process here. And through this process, people were, and especially seniors, alone. And in doing in doing this we're talking about we were in I thought Mr. Hollingsworth was going to touch on this when he said about the youth, but I think we can have an aactually what I mentioned about a 2 for 1 in here with our seniors, because now we need to make sure that we're not just taking care of their physical health, but their social and mental health as well. And in turn doing the same thing for our youth, and allowing this bridge of gap between the heritage because this is a retirement town, and but there's a lot of wealth of knowledge in history with our seniors. And I think if we tap into that, that also taps into the mentoring for some of the young people that we have that are that are are some of our problems, and getting things there at home. And they're not getting things at home, if I will, and have that cooperation between the seniors and the youth and have a teachable moment and actually maybe stop that revolving door of what we're going through for the crimes and for the pettiness and all the other things. But I think that activity, more so not just physical but for the social and mental health of people that have just gone through a pandemic and did this this process alone. And I think by doing that we were actually going to not only enhance our Senior Activity, but we'll also enhance our youth as well.
I'm gonna ask one more question and Lady call in and it was a question that I don't even know what this is talking about. And I'll just see if any of the three of you do and you probably do [group laughter] but let's try this one out, she asked me, she said, there's been much talk about making Vicksburg, a multi modal city. And I have to frankly, admit, I don't know what that means. And she asked, What is your plan to accomplish this? And be specific. So if any of you guys want to answer this and know what she's talking about, go for it.
Let me google it first. [inaudible group laughter and chatter]
I think what she's referring to is when we talk about the port, and we having a port, that port that comes in, and then we can be multimodal, where we can do all those things on that in in the airport, so that you can diversify your economy at the south end of the town. If they put the port there, you'll be able to use your rail, you'll be able to use your river and your highway as a means to transport all things. But in terms of, that's the only thing that we have ever mentioned about now, somebody else might have mentioned it. And I didn't google this, I'm just talking off the top of my head.
Well, what I'm trying to figure out is is is to see exactly the what aspect of the question that she meant by multimobile because also in multi, in multi
Modal, M-o-d-a-l is what I got, but we may not all
I I'm not sure [inaudible group chatter]
We have not spoke in those terminologies.
No, like I said
I was wondering what she meant
I'm not sure if the question that she that she put in was even posed was even answered, because you know, and that's why I did look it up to see exactly what I was looking but I looked at multimobile, which is a it's a technical term of doing some other things for technology. But I I'll back off on that one.
It It might refer to maybe public transport type of..
That's exactly where I was, you're saying I was gonna go that way. If you if you notice that a lot of our older streets have not been made handicap accessible. And I know that we started that about 12 years ago, there was some grant money, and we made a lot of the sidewalks accessible to the handicap. And I think that that we should our public sidewalks should be where if they would be mobile for everybody. As far as why we're talking about..
Oh no, we, oh no (laughs)
Well, for the most part, the sidewalks are.
Oh, no. I don't think so.
Well, this is a...
Let's ride together (group laughter)
This is a different question altogether, con- conflicting thing. Okay, I want to turn this over to Emily to close it out. And we're gonna get a statement from each of the three of you would have been almost for an hour here now. And I'd personally like to thank all three of you for coming down here to the radio station, dissipating alone with The Vicksburg Post, and V105.5 and Newstalk 107.7 in our political Roundtable. We've never done this before. We've been trying a lot of things this year, we've never done before. And I will say that all three of you, gentlemen, certainly, obviously you've shown yourself tonight to be certainly qualified to either continue to be or be mayor. And we'd like to thank all of you for coming down and your wisdom and your knowledge of what is going on is is incredible. And thank you all for doing that. Emily, do you have any other questions?
I do. I have a whole lot that we're probably not going to get to. But I have two from The Vicksburg Post and one from our Facebook that I would like to get to if we can. Here's one from The Vicksburg Post and I'll start with you, Mr. Hollingsworth. There is a lack of affordable housing in Vicksburg, what are your plans to resolve this issue?
Well, right now with the price of lumber, housing of any nature is unaffordable, or it's unaffordable for me. But they do have these modular houses that they are put together. There was a company that looked at Vicksburg back, oh, about 12 years ago. And they they completed everything the exterior and the interior, the walls were and the wiring, everything was completed. In Atlanta, they would ship them to Vicksburg, and then when you put them together, you would they had junction boxes for the wiring, and all, but they they tilted up. And at that time that was of the most economical I've ever seen. But I'm always looking for with with that being my background, I'm always looking for something that's the cheapest way but you also want it to last you want it to be the most cost effective.
Very good. Mr. Kimble?
I think that if we go out and look at different avenues, thinking outside the box, once again, not relying on the way we've always done things, looking for module type housing, looking for other avenues. There, there are some things right now with CDBG that are out there that we have not tapped, I don't think we've adequately tapped those resources. I actually have someone right now that's researching that for me. But we also have areas where, you know, we look in now, the aspect of millennials and other other things, are there things of houses, you look online now and you look on the DIY channels, and how they're doing tiny houses and all the other things, we have to think at this point, think outside of the box, and not just rely on what we've always done. I think we need to go to the individuals to markets and do some research. And once we do that research make an adequate decision of how we can bring adequate housing. But not only that, I think in the community course of things that we're doing here in Vicksburg, rather than tearing these things down, I think we really could could really reap the benefits from actually building and repairing those houses especially. There was something that we all did earlier with the Heritage Guild, and for historic homes and things like that. And I think that, I talked to a gentleman that was also here, visiting and he was very impressed with the older homes and he said, Hey, I need to invest in one of those but I went back and guess what, it's an empty lot now. So I think that once we get to that point, and thinking outside the box, I think we really can can make some adequate leaps and bounds when it comes to our housing issues in Vicksburg.
To answer your question, there are several developers in the city right now beginning to develop affordable housing. Clifford Jeffers in Kings, Mark Smith on Dr. Martin Lurther King Drive is going to develop some housing and in fact, with helping them with the infrastructure, as we helped the ones in Kings. They are looking at developing some houses on Indiana Avenue, what we need is a market from $125 to $200 thousand dollar houses in Vicksburg. And as relates to the blighted houses you're talking about, we get about $2.4 million dollars, I want to take some of that money and I've already said rather than this abatement, which helps the landlord really it doesn't help the renter, I want to, or the homeowner's or some of these homeowners...
it lowers the, it lowers their rent
what I want to do what what, what I want to do is to get grants out there, matching grants, so that we can help them with the simple things they need, just aesthetics, and demo type things in some of the things around the house. And I think that would help do that. But we're not demoing no more houses than any other city. I mean, you cannot protect the integrity of a community or the property value, and let people just do whatever they want to do with their house and run away from it. That's what we try not to do. I think the city's done a great job. The housing lady, Rochelle Williams, done a great job with trying to get additional money, the money that everybody talks about CBD, that money is not you'd, like every grant that comes down from the federal government now, not like it was when I was in the legislature. You have to have a matching. You have to be shovel ready. You must already have the infrastructure money, all that ready. And not saying it's these guys, but I'll say this, If we did everything that people want us to do at this city tomorrow, I don't know where we'd get the money from. We only got a $30 million dollar budget. And we don't we don't raise taxes. Now they may raise taxes and get more money but if if you want to raise taxes, I'm not your guy. I don't believe in taxes. [several laugh]
that that's more politician work there.
But they may want to raise your taxes. That's not me.
No, we're not.
No, I'm not taxing, I'm never raising taxing.
That wasn't that wasn't the question. No one's speaking about raising taxes.
Yeah, I pay enough myself.
That wasn't the question.
Well, I do want to address something this is this is not one of the things I had planned to say but someone messaged us so we've said in both the South Ward alderman discussion and this one. The property taxes hadn't been raised. But I had somebody messaged me and say that hers has been raised multiple times over the past 30 years.
absolutely not in this city. What she have gotten is a tax increase from the county as a result of school bond and a millage increase from the county. The city taxes have not, and millage has not been raised.
They they did assess did a reassessment. I know last year and and some...
The city taxes has not been raised that's all I'm a tell you. I've refinanced some of the debt for the city but the city ad valorem tax, they have not been raised in this city, I know in 8 years, because I don't vote for taxes.
But when the property was assessed at a higher value then their taxes did go up. But it wasn't because of you. I'm telling you, it's not what you did, but the but there is an assessor that goes out. And last year, they did a big reassessment. And so if you're, if your home was assessed at a higher value, your taxes did go up.
Oh, that's good clarification. Thank you. Mr. Hollingsworth
Of course that's not under the control of the mayor.
That's what I'm trying to say [group laughter]
The assessment that he's talking about, is because when they did the bond for the school bond, when they built the early, the school at Hinds, another bond, they had to reassess. Well, the I'm telling you, the city has not raised any taxes, will not, if I'm mayor, I can promise you that. And we'll get it done.
I do appreciate that clarification on that about the reassessment. Okay, moving along. Tourism is a major industry in Vicksburg, as we move out of the COVID pandemic, what are your plans to capitalize on it? Mr. Hollingsworth.
Well, our tourist, whenever they come to town, they're they put them on a bus. Usually they eat on the boats. So and I guess, let me back up. That's what I see is a big part of our tourism is the boats that come into dock at the harbor. Now, we do have other tourists too. The tourists to come in to see the Military Park, and all that. So. But in order to capitalize on it, is that what's your question was? capitalize? Is that what you said?
How to capitalize on tourism, we'll be coming back after the COVID pandemic, how do you capitalize on that?
Well, we need we need something fun to do like this Sunday, whenever the boat came in, there was hardly anything to do downtown. And you saw the people walking up down the streets. So we have to, if you want those dollars, you're gonna have to cater to them. The chopping block, which I own, we were open, but some of the senior citizens didn't, they came in and looked but they did participate.
They didn't want to throw those axes down there. May have some people on the boat that they want to throw one at but [group laughter]
But but in order to capitalize more off of that market, you're going to have to give them something else to do. You're going to have to give them something as such, as you know, something beside what we're doing now.
Alright. Mr. Kimble.
one other thing, and I agree with giving them something else to do. You know, at certain hours, I know when I flew in from Atlanta when I brought a colleague back with me at a certain hour in Vicksburg, you just yeah, it's nothing. But not only that, we need to make the city more inviting. You know, you we talked about the dock the riverfront things that are driving and those buses right now. They're picking them up on a gravel the other side of the railroad track there. You know, that's their first impression of Vicksburg met a young lady from DC at a convention and she was in Vicksburg, lived at, well stayed at one of our Airbnbs here. And she mentioned , and her one thing that she mentioned that what was the issue I asked her I said, "Well, what are you what do you think about Vicksburg?" She said "I I like the city, it's nice but.." and the but was the blight and the stray animals, and a bunch of other things. So what we what I would like to do would be actually to enhance and beautify the city but not only that, make it more inviting. With the Heritage Guild and other properties that we have even with the park and other things, we just need to make ourselves more inviting. You know, we when we say we're the red carpet, we need to roll it out.
Let me just say something because I truly believe we're on the pathway to all the ways you're talking about enhancing the tourism in this city. We we worked out an opportunity where each one of the room boats will have their own exclusive launching pad which they going to pay for themselves, for the construction. We get $1 off everybody come off. Viking 2022 already sold out. Now having said that, what we got to do and I think we're doing it, we're up to about 92% of capacity on on our hotel stays now. When we worked on it at the legislature and we continue to work on when we get Champion Hill. And if and then do the same thing at Champion Hill. And enhance the military park and Port Gibson. People have to come here and stay at least a day to see all the tours attract, as opposed to now they stay about eight hours. That's what we got to do. We got to enhance this tourist market where people want to stay a day or two here. One of the fastest things that we got going now getting tourists here is the Sports Complex. It is phenomenal how people are coming here because of the sports complex and the different things going on. And that happened in the last four or five years. The pickleball, the tennis court, we we will, we will be attracting those type things. What we have to do is talk positive about Vicksburg. That's what I try to do. When we talk positive people listen to us in a positive way. When we always find the the blightness or the negative things in there. That's what transcends into negative publicity. You never see, Have you ever heard me talk negative about Vicksburg? I won't do it. It's not gonna happen. I've been here, 68 years of my life. I've seen the good, the bad and the different. But I've not seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I'm telling you there were 5 cars on Washington Street the first night in 2013 when I got elected as mayor of this city and working with Daryl and other folks downtown, Tim Cantwell, Lawrence Lyons with The Valley. Different folks, collaborating with them, I think we're growing this city. And yes, I believe we need to get, connect some other areas of the city but as it relates to tourism, I'm very, very, very comfortable and proud in the direction we going with this city. In terms of tourism, people talk good about Vicksburg, the only people that talk bad about Vicksburg are people that live in the county, or or in the surrounding areas.
Well, to expand on this a little bit. there's a there's a group on Facebook, and there's a group in the community that have seen the how well the Brandon amphitheater is done at bringing concerts and revenue and all of that into their city. And they would like to see that for Vicksburg, and I'm going to start with you, Mr. Mayor, for this question. I'm gonna let you to come in with your thoughts on that after that. What do you think about that, Mr. Mayor?
That's the $11 million dollar project we got on the table that we when we went to New Orleans, that right in front of the depot will be an amphitheater. That's what that whole development is about. And we'll be able to go all the way up the Mississippi River, passed Klondyke and develop there, and have paviliions and have barbecue places where you can actually barbecue and enjoy the river. We're the only city that has not grown to that type of development. And that's what we're going to do. That's the next phase. And that's why that I believe that keeping me as mayor, you won't get this done in four years.
Alright, Mr. Hollingsworth. What are your thoughts on us, on that?
Well, I think we have turned that over to the boats to build their own docks. So is the, is that plan still in place?
Okay, because I did see the plan but...
And then at Margaritaville, there's a boat negotiating right now for the back part of Margaritaville. They'll put it, I don't want to name it, put its landing dock there. And the rest of the Margaritaville probably announced in the next couple of days gonna be turned into a loft and bnb.
Okay, I think
I got one more, Mark. I'm sorry. I'm not trying to cut you off. But I just got one more topic. And then I will stop asking y'all questions. I'm sure y'all are ready to go home?
I'm not. I could stay all night.
(laughs) I'm sure you could, Mr. Mayor. Let's see, Mr. Hollingsworth, I'll start with you. The City of Vicksburg Animal Shelter. This has been a hot topic, what are your plans for that?
You know, whenever they, whenever that became a hot topic. They were looking for a place and I had a lot that I offered to them. But they said that it was in the neighborhood and they didn't want to build in a neighborhood. But whenever I offered them that lot, I offered to put the plumbing and the foundation down for at cost. You know, I support them. And I'm on tell you right now, I'm not an expert on how that that layout is supposed to be. But somebody's got to give me a set of plans. And if they if I had that the plans of how to build it. We would have one today.
Fantastic. Mr. Kimble.
I I know right now that there is something in the works for this and with Mayor Flaggs and his office and those the animal activists and those groups that are that are seeking to enhance the animal shelters because it is it is a desperate need for this. I know we have other things that are out there. But from my understanding there's a place that has been a site that has been proposed for this. Is it the right site? I don't have all the data to say that it is or that it isn't. For me, from what I've seen, no, but I think there are other avenues and I think they may need to be actually visited. And I don't know, there are those things in the works. And there are experts that know more about this than I. But I think for the for the main part is that something is being done. But I, once again, and I'm not speaking negative, want to speak positive about things, but these things come up every four years, you know, these these items come up every four years, they become these hot topics. And, and then, you know, if I'm here, if I'm there, then this will happen, this will happen. But I think we need to start getting these things done at day one, you know, and just actually, you know, going through the process and not using it using them as a, I guess a political soapbox, if you will.
We have a plan. The development out of Texas that did one in Clinton has laid out a a plan to retrofit the property that we got, thank God to the late Mr. Thomas gave us the property, and we don't have to buy the property. And in fact, he looked at the other property and he said, this is ideal piece of property. We should be making an announcement about two weeks about the layout of this prop- the animal shelter will be built. And I think it's a it's a great way but what I, let me just tell you about government. I wish government, Daryl you know this, worked like the private side. We have to do due diligence, we have to have all these studies, we have to have all the engineers, we have to do all that before we can start a project. And one thing we got with the city, is that we don't build anything that we don't have the money for. Not under my administration. we have not built anything we didn't have the money, the money has to be in the bank before we let the construction. And that's because, we being fiscally responsible for the money but for the animal shelter, in the next two weeks, you'll see a design. I think Ms Mary Terry and and some others are working Frances Terry, Ms Mary Terry, Marilyn Terilyn, Taylor is working on and some of the other people, so we will have a Animal Shelter State of the Art, Daryl. Troy.
Thank you. [group laughter]
Okay. Well, we'd like to thank these three candidates for being here tonight with us. Don't forget Election Day will be one week from today. Please go out and vote. I'd like to have each of these candidates make a final closing statement. And then we'll close out our program for this evening. We'd like to thank The Vicksburg Post for helping us with this. And we appreciate all of you coming down. First, we'll go to Daryl Hollingsworth for his closing statement and then to Troy Kimble, and then the mayor George Flaggs.
Well, in my closing statement, I would like to say that the infrastructure in Vicksburg, and when I say infrastructure, that means our youth programs all the way to our streets to the what's under our streets, we have a crumbling infrastructure. And I'm just going to be truthful with you. So we have to address it, and the and the way I see to address it, I want to train our employees, I want to give our employees the pride and the leadership to do this work. I want us to fix what's under the roads before we pave them. If there's vacant lots in the in the strip of street, let's go ahead and put taps under the streets before we pave it. Let's fix it. Let's fix this fix our youth program. Why can't we have our police officers and our firemen and our first responders work with our youth? Why can't that be part of their job to mentor them on a regular basis? I think that that's not too much to ask, especially if we can get their salaries up. So with infrastructure is my strong suit. And I think if we're going to build a better Vicksburg, then we have to start there. We have to have a good foundation. Whenever I build a foundation, I always put extra steel in it. I always put more than architect, an engineer say put in it, because I don't want it to fail. And just like Vicksburg, I don't want it to fail. I'm willing to put the foundation down to grow this into the greatest city in Vicks- in Mississippi. And I promise you Vicksburg that I will always be honest with you and I will be a proactive mayor and not a reactive one. Thank you.
Okay, and now we'll go to Mr. Troy Kimble.
Oh, first of all, I want to thank you all, again, for having us here. I really appreciate the opportunity to answer these questions from our citizens. And but what I really want to say is that we started off talking about why we're running. And I'm not once again, not running against these gentlemen, I'm running for what I believe in. And I believe in I am very passionate about our city. And I would like to, for the listeners to understand that, yes, we have a lot of work to do. And yes, we have a lot of great things about Vicksburg, that that's, that's fact. But we have some work to do. And in doing that work, you need leadership. And that's exactly who and what I am. And no, I don't put anything but against anyone else. But we have to know and one of my favorite things I'll tell you is when I used to watch westerns all the time with my dad, when I was kid, and Clint Eastwood used to say "A man's got to know his limitations." You got to know your weaknesses moreso than your strengths all the, sometimes. And in doing that you put people around you who have that expertise, and who has that drive to do and you lead from the rear sometimes. And I know we have issues with crime, we have issues with infrastructure, we have issues with our youth, we have a lot of those things. But it's going to take all of us working together to do that. And it's going to take leadership banding, and doing the right thing. And that's what I want to bring to the city. Not that I have all the answers. No, no one does. But what we want to do is work it out together. And on June 8, I'm asking for your support. And I'm asking for your vote. I'm asking for your confidence that I'm not just wanting to be your mayor, but I want to be a fellow citizen who can lead the city. Thank you.
Okay. And Mayor George Flaggs.
Well, thank you, Mark, and thank you to The Vicksburg Post. And thanks, Troy and Daryl. Let me just say some that being Mayor for eight years, I've enjoyed it, I'm gonna continue to enjoy it. I believe that we are on a path to prosperity. I think we have grown this city in leaps and bounds in some areas. Every city will have issues on infrastructure. There's not enough money in the country to fix all the infrasctructure problems. But we're fixing it as we move along. I think this city is in better shape than it's ever been. I don't want to go back. I want to go forward. I'm a forward thinking guy. I'm a guy that I believe that if you collaborate with people, if you work with people, you build relationships with people, you can get things done. I want to continue to do that. I've learned from Daryl. I've learned from Troy. I've learned from Shawn. I learned from Willis. But at the same time, I believe when it comes down to it, I have the experience. I have proven leadership. I have been effective as your mayor and I want to continue to do it. But yes, as in any city, we got a lot We got work to do. I don't say a whole lot to do, but I think we can do it in the next four years. I'm confident, Troy, we can do it in a four years. Because I set out a pathway we want to complete the MCITY, we want to build that port. We want to enhance tourism, we want to redevelop the riverfront. We want to improve the infrastructure and recreational things. We can do it with the board we got now. If you keep George Flaggs, Monsour, and Mayfield working together, I think we can do that.
Thank you, Mayor Flaggs, and thank you Mr. Kimble, and Mr. Hollingsworth for joining us tonight. This has been a roundtable of discussion group and a candidates forum for the mayoral race and we had the Southward Alderman race prior to that. We thank you all for listening to us as well and for all of you who called in and commented with questions and comments. This has been a political roundtable on V 105 .5 and Newstalk 107.7 FM. Good night.