Infrastructure. Taxes. Grants.
Mayors from across the Mississippi Delta convened at Delta State University on Aug. 29, 2019, to discuss these important civic topics and other crucial subjects about governance at Delta State University’s sixth annual Delta Mayors’ Summit.
“I am very grateful to the Delta mayors who participated in this year’s program,” said Delta State President William N. LaForge, the summit creator and host. “It is always a pleasure to welcome them to campus to discuss activities and changes at Delta State, as well as vital public policy issues and concerns that are important to the Delta communities the university serves.”
The purpose of the Delta Mayors’ Summit remains twofold: to facilitate roundtable discussions on opportunities and challenges in improving the Delta and to update participants on related efforts undertaken by Delta State.
Topics raised by mayors included local control of revenue from internet taxes; gaining a competitive edge when pursuing grants and other funding; and financial implications of the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2018.
President LaForge summarized the university’s $175 million economic impact on the Mississippi Delta and themes from his 2019 convocation address. He also shared information about upcoming DSU events such as the sixth annual International Conference on the Blues on Oct. 4, the 34th annual Pig Pickin’ on Sept. 20-21, and the Bologna Performing Arts Center’s 25th anniversary season.
Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell ’72 welcomed attendees to the afternoon event, held at the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni-Foundation House, and mayors networked and shared news from their communities.
Dr. Temika M. Simmons, director of the Local Government Leadership Institute at Delta State, gave an overview of the nonpartisan campus program that provides tools and support for municipal officials of the Mississippi Delta. The institute offers training, activities, and resources, she explained, about city planning, economic growth, records management, community relations, workforce development, historic preservation, and more.
“We believe that the leadership, management, and infrastructure from local government are keys to a community’s delivery of services, quality-of-life efforts, and trust in public offices,” said Simmons. “Through a partnership with the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Municipal League, and with support from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation of Jackson and Casey Family Programs of Seattle, elected officials are able to use the institute as a platform for continuing their work together to build a better Mississippi Delta. We are excited about the energy and continued involvement of our local officials in this program unique to our area.”