The Vicksburg Daily News sent a set of seven questions to all five candidates running for office in the municipal election. We will publish their answers in the order in which they are received.
1.) Tell us who you are, your Vicksburg story and why you have chosen to run for office.
I am Alex Monsour, your current South Ward Alderman for the City of Vicksburg. I served for 10 years as your State Representative. In 2017 I decided to run for the South Ward Alderman.
Vicksburg was stagnant in the jobs and industry market. The previous Board was fighting all the time and our City had lost its pride!
Since taking office we have our downtown thriving, we helped create over 800 new full time jobs with a 32 million dollar annual payroll, six (6) new companies have located to Vicksburg and we have seen over 210 million dollars of investment in just 4 short years.
2.) On the unsolved murders and our crime issue, what is your plan to improve the situation?
We have to increase the amount of police officers we have and we have to get the pay to a competitive level, so we can hire the best available personnel out there. We have to communicate better with the Judges and District Attorney’s office. We need to evaluate every position and make the adjustments needed to do a better job.
3.) Taxes and Spending. What are your priorities and how will you increase tax revenue and allocate spending?
The current Board of Mayor and Aldermen has done a good job on taxes and spending. We have balanced a thirty million dollar budget each of the last four years without raising taxes.
Attracting more visitors to our city through tourism allows us to collect revenue through sales tax from restaurant and hotel taxes rather than raise property taxes. Creating new jobs will allow for additional payroll and sales tax.
4.) COVID-19 has hit every segment of our lives. What will you do to improve the situation including how will you start bringing jobs back, help businesses start thriving again, and how would you do this in a safe manner?
The City of Vicksburg has done a good job of balancing and implementing the CDC guidelines while allowing our merchants to open as much as we could.
The Board understands you cannot just shut down the entire economy. We will have to do a good job of educating the public going forward with City information we receive about COVID!
5.) What are your plans to grow Vicksburg?
Our City will continue to do everything to incentivize business to come here and stay here using all State, Local and Federal help, all the while continuing to attract people to Vicksburg through tourism and quality of life!
6.) What other areas of focus will be on your priority list starting with your top priority?
Infrastructure is the number one issue looking at our City. Our infrastructure is aging, it is over a hundred years old and our streets and roads need repair badly. Secondly, we will have to address crime. We need to look at our deficiencies and correct them. We must pay our public safety workers better so that we can compete for the best available personnel out there.
7.) What else do voters need to know about you and what you will do for the city?
I am committed to the City of Vicksburg. I want everyone and their children to have the same thing I want for my children. A clean, safe City and I want to bring the types of jobs here that will allow our children to work and live here, if that is what they choose. Vicksburg has all the tools to be the best City in the State of Mississippi. I have been working on this since I came to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, and will not quit until we get there.
I am asking for the citizens of the South Ward to let me continue to work for them for another four years. Please vote Alex Monsour, South Ward Alderman on June 8th.