As we roll into the Christmas and New Year's holidays, there's certainly a desire to rest, reflect, and spend quality time with family and friends. For Mayor Tony Yarber and the city council, however, we suggest having a pen and notebook handy to jot some things on their to-do lists and get important deadlines up on the calendar for 2016.
First and foremost, it's time to get a project manager for the 1-percent sales tax money and start turning some dirt. The first round of money was allocated in the spring of 2015, and very little has been done to spend it.
This city—via a number of administrations—has blown $90 million on a questionable "performance" contract with Siemens. As our credit rating tumbles, the 1-percent money may really be our last hope.
Speaking of water, it's time to get the water bills straight. We don't blame the Siemens contract on Mayor Yarber, but clearly it's a huge missed opportunity for everyone, aside from the sub-contractors who made a killing. Mr. Mayor and city council, it's time to hold all primes and subs accountable to fix their messes and get things rolling.
And one more thing—let's turn dirt on the Market to Museum trail. Again, water stands in our way, but if we can get that 48-inch main started ASAP, then we can get the trail built and tie together some of our greatest assets—museums and fairgrounds—with a beautiful biking and walking trail.
Those are resolutions for government officials. Citizens of Jackson have to play their parts, too. If you or someone you know needs a job, apply for one of the dozens of vacant positions with the City's public-works department. If you get one, take pride and ownership in the work.
Report infrastructure problems when you see them; don't just assume that the City is inept and ignoring the problem. Chances are, they may not even know about the pothole on your street or the hydrant that's gushed water all day. And raise hell about your water bill.
Let's all set some "big hairy" goals that we'll start working toward as soon as we're done with New Year's football game: It's time to do everything we can to encourage people to move to Jackson. That includes shopping with locally owned businesses that build the local economy.
By the 2020 census, let's have 10,000 more people living in the city limits. That's taxpayers, homeowners and job creators. How are we going to do that? Leadership, accountability and civil responsibility.
If you're a citizen of Jackson, let your elected leaders know that you're ready for infrastructure improvements while holding contractors, public servants and each other accountable.