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Street Talk

Our State Is Helping Lead Efforts To Tweak Historic Tax Credit Act


There was a headline for a letter in this paper two weeks ago that suggest the trailer park invasion was resolved. To the best of my knowledge, at this writing, that is not the case. The Golden Wing Oxford guys have not said a thing, not the dentist, not the nursery owner, or the two landscapers. 

The city has said they will enforce current regulations and provide no utilities outside of the city boundaries. The county said it is not in the utilities business, but has taken two months to sort of come close to looking into regulations. If you’re about to be hanged, hope they’re sent for the rope. Bob Barber is coming back next Monday at 9 a.m. in Water Valley at the next supervisors’ meeting. You might want to show up and hear Bob.

I heard last Saturday from Jerri Ann and Gil Davis. They own two houses in the McLarty-Blount neighborhood. With the house known as the Lee house they’ve done a great restoration. The other, the largest and oldest house there, known as the Simmons house, awaits a restoration worth some $300 thousand dollars.  

That restoration work is on hold until the trailer park invasion gets figured out. Mobile trailers coming in means they’d be fools to fix the place. No massive trailer park means they’ll fix that place every bit as nice as the job they did on the Lee house. Here’s the money thing. All houses in the whole neighborhood will go up in value significantly if Simmons gets fixed. All houses in that neighborhood will go down significantly in value if trailers come in and Simmons sits. 

It is economic development, positive or negative, that simple.  Makes no real difference if it is county or city, it affects us all. You would think for a supervisory board that espouses economic development it’d be a clear-cut case and call to action. The supervisors represent city residents as well – not sure if they remember that.

This week I’ll be doing a little representing again for Water Valley in Washington DC. Not the White House this time, but Congress. There is a bill in both the House and Senate called the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act. The purpose is to take the current Federal historic rehabilitation credit and adjust it so it is more small business and small town friend friendly. The current one has been in place for decades and has done a great job, but this effort is to make it work better for those doing smaller projects in historic downtowns. Like us in the Valley. Mississippi is already the leader on this bill, we’re the first state to have the entire congressional delegation sign on or outright sponsor the bill. 

That’s a big deal and significant help came from the Valley folks in this effort in talking to their congressional representatives and senators. And it is an issue that seems to have no political agenda. Everyone wants a solid downtown. I tell people it’s a liberal issue for the “greenest” building on the planet is one that is already built. And a conservative issue also, well, because it literally means conserving buildings for now and the future. Either political persuasion, it means a strong local economy, and that’s what we all want.

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