Building a stronger Ward neighborhood by neighborhood
Building a stronger Ward neighborhood by neighborhood
As City Councilman for Ward 2, James Paige will help Jackson, Mississippi return to its glory days as a viable, thriving community. A life-long resident of Jackson, a business owner, and a member of Jackson’s law enforcement community, James Paige recalls the days when Jackson was flush with successful, locally-owned businesses, and when residents took pride in being part of Mississippi’s Capital City. The following simple and workable ideas are part of James Paige’s platform to make Jackson better, not just for his Ward 2 constituents, but for all of us who call Jackson home:
1. The “Buy Jackson First” Campaign
James Paige will institute a year-round campaign to educate and encourage the Jackson community to buy in Jackson. James will drive home the point to Jackson’s citizens that we, as Jacksonians, get a return on our money whenever we spend it in the Capital City. James will emphasize that when Jacksonians choose to spend their hard-earned dollars in surrounding areas, those dollars are LOST to Jackson. Supporting stores and restaurants in other cities only ensures that those cities’ roads are paved, police forces are strengthened, and property values rise. James understands, and will convey to Jacksonians, that every dollar we use to support our local businesses puts more money in Jackson’s coffers to improve our city’s infrastructure and to provide the Jackson citizenry with better services.
James Paige’s “Buy Jackson First” campaign recognizes and combats the fact that Jackson is bleeding businesses. James Paige wants the city’s residents to understand that Jackson’s locally-owned businesses cannot survive unless we, Jackson’s citizens, make every effort to support those businesses which choose to operate in Jackson and to avoid those businesses that choose to abandon Jackson for neighboring areas. Bare appeals to businesses that plan to leave Jackson will not work to keep those stores and restaurants in our city. Those companies will ignore our pleas and leave for the suburbs, banking on our recent history of patronizing businesses that move outside of the city limits. Unless we have a shift in our mindsets and unless we start to penalize those companies that relocate away from Jackson, our collective bargaining power will count as nothing and we will continue to lose our tax base and the quality of life in Jackson will continue to decline. That’s precisely what Councilman James Paige’s “Buy Jackson First” campaign will fix!
2. Give City of Jackson Residents Priority for City of Jackson Employment
James Paige recalls a time, prior to the mass flight of certain segments of city residents to outlying areas, when Jackson’s residents were given priority in employment with the city. Those days have passed. But James Paige as Ward 2 Councilman will fight to reinvigorate that policy for city employees.
First, the City of Jackson gets a return on its investment when it hires its own residents to fill city jobs. For every dollar the city pays as wages to a Jackson resident, the city gets a portion of that wage dollar back in the form of taxes. In addition, the city is providing its own citizens with dollars that lower Jackson’s unemployment rate. Further, employing Jacksonians helps our citizens to pay their rent, mortgages, and bills. Alternatively, the city sees no return on its wage dollars when it pays non-Jackson residents to work for Jackson. Those city workers take 100% of their wages from Jackson to outside the city and use those Jackson dollars to boost the economy of a city other than Jackson.
Second, Jackson should actively use its spending dollars on those who make the choice to live in the Capital City. A sound reason exists for requiring a city’s mayor to live in the city he or she leads, or for a councilperson to reside in the ward he or she represents. This is to make sure that the mayor or councilperson “has skin in the game.” James Paige believes the people who conduct the business of the Jackson community should have a vested interest in conducting the city’s business and providing Jackson’s services as well.
Obviously James Paige recognizes that those non-Jackson residents who already work for the City of Jackson should be secure in their jobs. James Paige, nevertheless, understands that Jackson’s first priority is to its own citizens and fully intends to empower Jacksonians by giving city residents first priority in new city hiring.
3. Increase the Quality and Decrease the Cost of Essential City Services
James Paige, as Councilman for Jackson’s Ward 2, will increase the quality and decrease the cost of essential city services. James understands that the City of Jackson has been in an almost constant state of disrepair ever since the City started using outside vendors, rather than city employees, to fix and maintain its infrastructure and to control the services that are essential to all of the Citizens of Jackson.
Jackson has allowed itself to be held hostage by outside companies (often based out-of-state), because Jackson contracted with these companies to run many essential City services. Around the same time, a large number of Jackson’s Citizens left the city and moved to Jackson’s neighboring counties. The City also got rid of many City workers and the equipment used to maintain our infrastructure. Those who were then responsible for City government made Jackson dependent on outside vendors to do essential work to make Jackson livable. Before those decisions were made, Jackson’s roads and highways were maintained in good condition. Jackson’s sanitation department collected trash and cleaned debris from our streets, which helped control flooding and drainage, in addition to keeping the City clean. These services are now farmed out to private companies. These companies, driven by profits, have raised their prices to the point projects which should be handled as on-going maintenance, such as resurfacing roads, has become prohibitively expensive. This simple example, which should be on-going, has become a major undertaking for the City.
The numbers show that the City of Jackson provided more essential, infrastructure-related, and “quality-of-life” services for its citizens when the City had its own employees making sure these services were provided well. The City was able to employ more Jacksonians, and provide better services because it did not have to pay a profit margin to a “middleman.”
As City Councilman, James Paige will fight to reclaim those services which would be cheaper to operate in-house by the city from middlemen and outside vendors. This would improve Jackson City services, give jobs to Jacksonians, and make City government run more cost-effectively.