Director Selected For Water Valley Main Street
By Alexe van Beuren
Over the month of April, the Water Valley Main Street Association has met several times and taken some big steps. The biggest?
Appointing Jessie Gurner as the Executive Director, the organization’s sole paid employee.
Among numerous other tasks, Gurner has begun coordinating the designation ceremony, where a state representative for the Mississippi Main Street Association will be present to induct Water Valley as a Main Street town and also to conduct training for the four committees, made up of volunteers. The date for the ceremony and subsequent training is tentatively set for July 9 and 10.
Other news includes voting in officers and registering with the IRS for non-profit status. Lee McMinn will serve as W.V.M.S.A.’s President; Kim Jones as the Vice-President; Sherry Martin as the Treasurer, and Alexe van Beuren as the Secretary.
The organization, which has been several years in the making, has several more obstacles before it can roll up its sleeves and work on revitalizing downtown Main Street.
Its first task?
Registering with the IRS as a charitable non-profit organization.
Becoming a non-profit will help W.V.M.S.A. in more ways than getting reduced postage; for one, it will allow the City to lease Old City Hall (most recently the home of the WIN Job Center) to the W.VM.S.A. for a minimal amount of rent. While the City has approved the lease, it must wait for W.V.M.S.A. to be deemed tax-exempt by the IRS before allowing the organization to move into the space because of the city’s bylaws. Another benefit of registering as a charitable non-profit is that any contributions will be tax-deductible– and for this association, contributions will be key.
“We’re minimally funded for the first years,” said McMinn at Monday’s meeting. “But in order to keep going, we’re going to need all the help we can get.”
Major expenses include the director’s salary, office expenses, and the fairly formidable dues the W.V.M.S.A. must pay each year for three years to the Mississippi Main Street Association.
Despite the challenges W.V.M.S.A. faces, morale remains high. “Main Street organizations have been successful before,” said Gurner. “We’re not reinventing the wheel.”
The Water Valley Main Street Association meets the first Monday of every month. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact Jessie Gurner.