The Mississippi Municipal League members consisting of cities, towns, and villages across this state were in Jackson last week when the state legislature gaveled in the 2019 Legislative session.
There are 293 municipalities in this state, made up of cities, towns, and villages. These municipalities consist, mostly, of having five board members, some seven, and each municipality has a mayor. When these municipalities get behind an effort on the local level to make a better life for their citizens, it is a force. It is a force with grassroots effort that will get attention. That goes for getting attention at the state Capitol and even the nation’s Capitol in support of local issues.
This week during Municipal Government Week in Mississippi, the important functions of municipal government are being highlighted, and it is essential that on the local level the voices are heard. Through the past year, there have been resolutions passed by town boards that will improve the quality of life for citizens.
One was regarding support for rural internet service, which all three municipalities in Carroll County passed -- Carrollton, North Carrollton, and Vaiden along with 63 other municipalities in this state. This is an effort that will be heard, and it is important to communicate the opinion of the local governments through these resolutions.
In 2018, there were resolutions passed for tourism funding, which will make a difference for small towns across this state. State Senator Lydia Chassaniol (R-Winona), who chairs the tourism committee, has worked with towns to help secure these funds. It is a fact these proposals help communities with funding that they could not otherwise afford.
The Mississippi Municipal League’s 2019 Proposed Legislative Agenda includes: local Government Debt Collection Act, Electric Power Cooperatives’ Broadband Authorization Bill (provided that language is included to require electric cooperatives to enter into franchise agreements with municipalities); clarifications in the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act, level funding of Homestead Exemption reimbursements, ten million for small municipalities grant, and opposition to any unfunded mandates or preemption bills.
It is essential for towns to have this presence at the Capitol and the MML agenda is a comprehensive list of issues from the local level.
I joined both Carrollton Mayor Pam Lee and Vaiden Mayor Mel Hawthorne at the legislative conference in Jackson last week. I am proud of our working relationship, and our united efforts in helping the municipalities of Carroll County accomplish great things for our citizens.
In celebrating Mississippi Municipal Government Week, we are reminded of our potential and looking to a successful future. There is a special place called your hometown, it’s where our story begins.
Ken Strachan, serves as the mayor of North Carrollton, and is a member of the Mississippi Municipal League Board of Directors.