HATTIESBURG — The Hub City has enjoyed a high level of success in terms of economic development. The cooperation between governmental and industrial development entities has been one of the factors in this success, with the mayor’s support being an important part of the mix.
In the upcoming June 5th mayoral election, incumbent republican Mayor Ed Morgan will be running against former city councilman democrat Johnny DuPree. The Mississippi Business Journal spoke to both candidates to get their views on a mayor’s role in economic development efforts.
MBJ: Do you feel that the encouragement of economic development is an important aspect of a mayor’s job? Why or why not?
DuPree: Yes, I do. I think that the mayor serves as a spokesperson and a leader for the taxpayers. Economic development is a major portion of the viability of the city. It lessens the tax burden on citizens, provides jobs and provides a mechanism for spreading the wealth.
Morgan: As mayor, I believe the mayor’s job is more than just the “encouragement of” economic development. As mayor, economic development should be a part of the four-year plan. I believe the major role of a mayor in this area is to create an environment that is conducive to growth and business development. Government’s role should first focus on the infrastructure needs and requirements for growth and development.
The next step in creating this positive environment for growth is providing a low tax base and excellent law enforcement resulting in a safe community. Government can also provide certain inducements or incentives through fa