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Alliance Will Promote Business Interests

Eddie Ray

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – A new organization to promote the interests of local business and business owners was introduced to the public during the first Tuesday meeting of the Board of Aldermen March 3.

            Eddie Ray, president and chairman of the board of the newly formed Water Valley Business Alliance, appeared before aldermen to explain the goals of the organization.

            “I guess I need to say for those people who don’t know my background, I’m from Water Valley,” Ray said during his opening comments. “My parents operated a retail store in Water Valley for all the time I was growing up and well past that. So, I kinda’ know about doing small business in Water Valley, Mississippi.”

            Ray emphasized that when he and his family moved back to Water Valley, he came back as CEO of the Mechanics Bank. “Every business for nineteen and a half years that was put into place in Water Valley who used that bank – and I would say the huge preponderance of them did – did so either with my assistance or the assistance of policies that I wrote and my employees carried out.”

            “The purpose of this organization is to promote the interest of local business, business owners and business property owners by encouraging fair, equitable and minimally intrusive regulations by city, county and state government,” Ray read from his prepared statement.

            “All individuals, business and corporations that support the purpose and goals of the organization are invited to become a member of the Alliance.

            “The Alliance will strive to encourage all elected officials to conduct public business in accordance with the Mississippi Ethics Commission’s Rules known as Sunshine Laws.

            “The Alliance will encourage citizens to offer as candidates for public office and join into the local political process to become better informed voters.

            “The Alliance offers to serve as a sounding board for elected officials in promulgating new ordinances and amending existing ordinances,” Ray said, concluding his statement.

            Mayor Larry Hart asked if the alliance related to the Chamber of Commerce in any way. “No,” Ray replied.

            “So this is totally separate from the chamber,” the mayor questioned.

            Alderman Larry Bell asked what is the fee to join, to which Ray replied, “$25 and everyone is invited to join. I don’t have any sign up papers on me, so you’ll have to wait ’til another day.”

    Hart asked if membership applied to non-merchants and Ray said, “Anyone who shares our goals.”

            Hart asked where someone could go to sign up and Ray replied, “I don’t know. We’re not that far along yet,” which drew a laugh from the room.

            Additional information about participating in the group will be announced later.

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