Board of Aldermen share plans of new administration

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Saturday, the newly elected Board of Aldermen and mayor were sworn into office. During the festivities the new administration discussed its top priorities for the city of Poplarville over the next four years.
“We plan on hitting the ground running with the economic development project,” Mayor Rossie Creel said.
The project deals with tax increment financing, a process Creel said only 30 states in the nation have adopted as a tool for economic development.
Newly elected Alderwoman Anne Gendusa Smith agreed with Creel that the bulk of their first meeting Wednesday will be discussing the strategy behind this economic development project, while also focusing on another problem the city faces.
“Great infrastructure is critical for the functionality of the city, and in some parts, I would label the roads at an emergency level. We have immediate infrastructure problems that have to be addressed today,” Smith said.
Ever since the Board and mayor were elected, Smith said they have been focusing on ways to improve the infrastructure of the city, while simultaneously coming up with a strategic plan to bring more jobs to Poplarville through economic development.
“The needs of the city and its citizens are the ultimate umbrella for helping Poplarville grow,” she said.
Alderman Kevin Tillman, Sr. said his first priority is to bring in more jobs and more activities for children within the city.
“We are losing most of our residents because they are working out of town, and the ones that aren’t working out of town are moving out of town,” Tillman said. “In order for this city to grow, we have to keep our people here.”
His hope is that the economic development project will bring more jobs to Poplarville, and as a result, aide residents in wanting to stay or even come back to the city.
In order for this to happen, newly elected Alderman Tony Smith believes the Board must first discuss the direction to take the city.
“My goal is to work with each of the Board members and the mayor to strategize a plan that will move our city forward,” Tony Smith said.
Smith has previous served at the state level of government. He said is excited and honored to serve the city of Poplarville and work toward results.
“Knowing that I have the opportunity to serve and be a part of this city is an honor,” he said. “The state level is different. You do things there and normally don’t see quick results; but here, I believe we can do some great things and see the results pretty quick. I’m excited to get started.”
Along with re-elected Alderwomen Maggie Smith and Shirley Wiltshire, the Board is prepared to focus on economic development and infrastructure needs during its first meeting Wednesday, Anne Smith said.
“Ultimately, we need to get these streets fixed and push economic development. Those two things have to be worked as a package. If the infrastructure is fixed, we can build. If we can build, then more jobs will be produced in those areas,” she said.
The first meeting for the newly elected Board members and mayor will be Wednesday at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

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