/Mound Bayou leadership pays off nearly $700,000 in inherited debt

Mound Bayou leadership pays off nearly $700,000 in inherited debt

Mound Bayou, an isolated town in Bolivar County had $717,826.06 of debt to the IRS, Entergy and 18 other entities. Peterson stated that she does not know the details of what led to this debt in previous administrations. She said, “They didn’t pay their bills, so far as I know.” Peterson said, “These were all bills we inherited from previous administrations. I was told when I arrived at the office that it didn’t matter if you didn’t pay the bills. The city is responsible for paying the bills. You are the one in charge. “So she worked with the board to develop a plan to pay it off. Peterson stated that 84% of the city’s debts have been paid off through fundraising, tax anticipation loans and allocations from city general fund. We are very proud of the work done by the board and me to pay off this $603,958.70. All bills are currently current. Peterson stated that there are no bills we don’t pay. This kind of debt is not uncommon in small rural towns. The $800,000. in unpaid bills that the state left behind could cause Itta Bena, a city located 50 miles southwest of Mound Bayou to lose its power. Hope Policy Institute Director Diane Standaert stated that the lack of wealth in small rural towns can be explained by looking at policies that historically have divested from such places. “Generally speaking, the bigger picture of finances in smaller towns is not unrelated to what has happened in the region over the past in terms of exclusionary and extraction policies and practices. Standaert stated that this includes not only extractive policies, but also a divestment and not getting resources on an ongoing basis, whether they be philanthropic public dollars or private dollars. Willie Simmons (central district transportation commissioner, former senator representing the Delta), agreed that national and state policies tend to ignore small-town economic growth. The infrastructure required to attract and sustain a healthy population in rural Mississippi, especially the Delta, is lacking. Economic development, new employment opportunities, and economic development are all affected by a declining population. Simmons stated that we must reexamine what we did in the past to create a holistic country and a holistic state. Simmons said, “We must invest in the communities that we have neglected in the recent past due to population migration and public policies, and start investing in those communities so they can grow.” Although these policies weren’t the only reason Mound Bayou was in debt, they played an important role in what the city couldn’t afford while paying it off. Peterson stated that now that the town has a lot of debt, the town can prioritize infrastructure projects. She plans to improve the street and sewer systems, as well as revive the community center. She plans to run for reelection in June so she can carry on the work that she started. She will continue to lobby for the repayment of the remaining debts before the new mayor takes office, even if it is unsuccessful. Peterson stated that it was a goal of hers to ensure that no new administration comes in with these debts on their heads._x000D