County population has become stagnant

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 11, 2017

United States Census estimates show that the population in Pearl River County has remained mostly the same since 2010, and that should be worrisome to local leaders.

Seven years ago the population was estimated to be 55,747. For 2015, the estimate dropped to 55,191 and last year the estimate was 55,310.

A variance of 437 people from 2010 to 2016 is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but for a rural area such as ours losing some population is counterproductive.

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Many of us have at least visited other cities, and we can all agree that Pearl River County is unique, offering a laid back lifestyle that is centrally located to big city amenities.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t want our county to grow.

With more population comes a larger tax base that can be used to provide the improvements our area so desperately needs.

The first thing I think can help the population grow in Pearl River County would be to address the litter problem at home. Start with the children, and when they grow up, they will pass that habit to their own children.

Second, we need to update the infrastructure. While there are projects underway to improve our water and sewer services, roads are also in need of repairs.

Too many of our county roads are nothing more than a series of patches. The Board of Supervisor’s suggestion is a one-cent sales tax on prepared food and lodging.

That is a feasible idea, but approval of the Legislature is required, and that may be a long shot.

I would pay that extra cent if it meant better roads and newer public buildings.

In the meantime, the Board needs to come up with a solution within their power.

Because, cities and counties not increasing their population tend not to entice the current population to make their childhood home the same place they raise a family.