By Sue Moore
Vicksburg’s new website was launched at the village council’s January 20 meeting, with video of the entire meeting streamed to viewers.
Council members were instructed how to click their mic on and off and to speak into the camera while expressing an opinion or asking a question. The work on planning and installing the streaming devices fell to Alex Lee, director of community engagement, and subcontractor Gladstone & Associates. Anybody with access to the village website at vicksburgmi.org will be able to watch the Council in its deliberations at each meeting.
Village Manager Jim Mallery spoke at length about his work on the budget over the last three years and the Financial Transparency Center section of the new website. “Within this section of our website, our citizens can see where each dollar is committed to ongoing projects, their individual status and other important communication involving our finances.”
“The expectation as your staff is to continue to present financial plans that will provide the best opportunity to continue to lower the tax burden on our citizens,” Mallery explained. “I believe that this will be possible again between the 2024-2026 fiscal years. A millage reduction helps all taxpayers within our village; individuals, families and businesses. This has and will always be my foundation that motivates me to serve as your village manager, to lower the financial burden for everyone, while providing WOW service at every opportunity we can.”
Mallery added, “I am the one that receives the phone calls about the struggles to pay utility bills. I will say that there are a slight few in our community who are late in paying their utility bill every single quarter and to be blunt, they have not committed to establishing a personal budget and making a conscious decision to not meet their financial obligation.”
“However, there are more than a slight few who have relayed their situation, sometimes in strict confidence, and those stories have torn me apart, stories that have motivated me to attempt to utilize every outside financial resource known to me, including Stephanie and my own finances, to help those that are truly in need.
“These are stories that motivate me on a daily basis to do everything I can as a leader in this municipality to ensure that the dollars that have been entrusted with us, dollars that are so precious to them; are invested in a manner that we can be proud of. Unfortunately, the fact that we are operating an aging sewer system – some parts date back to the early 1940s – we know that there will be critical needs in the not too distant future. It is imperative that we have our municipality in the best financial shape possible to address the anticipated and predictable upgrades that are needed to serve a municipality in the 2020s.”
“I have never been more confident that we will reach our expectations as well as the goals we have placed before us. The future is definitely bright in the Village of Vicksburg. Others in municipal work must be jealous of the opportunities that are on the horizon of our journey in this village,” Mallery said.