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|V-Vehicle game-changer for entire region|
I want to take the next couple of weeks to share with you why I think it is very important that we pass the Oct. 17 parish-wide property tax in support of the V-Vehicle Company. I believe by taking my time to share these thoughts, most, if not all general questions about this measure can be answered. I urge you to read my next few columns and share this information with other Ouachita Parish voters.
As a point guard on a basketball conference championship team 30 years ago at the University of Louisiana-Monroe (formerly NLU), my teammates and I experienced several times when something happened that changed the complexity of the game. It may have come in the form of a made basket, missed free throw or turnover. This caused us to either win or lose the game. This is commonly known as a "game changer."
Fast forward 30 years later to 2009 … we as cities (Monroe, West Monroe, Sterlington and Richwood), Ouachita Parish and our entire northeast Louisiana region have had some successes and disappointments concerning jobs and economic development. We are particularly proud of the recent success among several businesses that have helped to create a winning atmosphere in our area.
The announcement of the V-Vehicle company coming to Monroe creating 1,400 direct jobs, and another 1,800 possible indirect jobs, is certainly a "game changer" for our entire region. Our teammates have been very instrumental in helping to make this happen by producing $82 million in local, state and federal grants to build out the plant.
FEDERAL: In addition to helping secure $5 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, our federal delegation is helping to support hundreds of millions of dollars in low interest government loans in support of the V-Vehicle Company.
STATE: Gov. Bobby Jindal, state economic development officials, and state legislators orchestrated and voted to support a $67 million incentive package from the State Megafund.
LOCAL: The City of Monroe, City of West Monroe, Ouachita Parish Police Jury, ODEC Land Corp and I-20 Economic Development District sealed the deal with a commitment of a $15-million incentive package, to be funded through this proposed property tax.
In addition to all federal and state officials, Mayor Dave Norris, Police Jury President Shane Smiley and I truly appreciate the support of the police jurors, Monroe and West Monroe city councils, OEDC Land Corp. President Ben Peters, I-20 EDD presidents Dr. Claude Minor and their respective boards.
Our community is on the radar of the rest of the country and we have the opportunity to show them how we are changing the entire northeast Louisiana region. On Saturday, Oct. 17, we are asking Ouachita Parish to come together to support bring up to 3200 new jobs for our region by voting "Yes" for the V-Vehicle Property Tax.
This is a time where we control our own destiny. I have already received calls from across the country from people inquiring about job and business opportunities. This "game changer" is very appealing to people who are willing to relocate here to work, or to locate or expand their business. I am not playing basketball these days. However, I am proud to share with my teammates a tremendous opportunity to bring home the gold medal by working together to pass this tax on Oct. 17.
In next week's column, I will answer a few frequently asked questions about the property tax on the Oct. 17 ballot. Early voting is being held between 8:30a.m.-6 p.m. through Saturday, Oct. 10. You can vote early at the State Office Building located at 122 St. John Street in Room 114. You can also vote early between 8:30 a.m.– 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 9 and, Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Chennault Aviation Museum, located at 701 Kansas Lane.
Take someone with you when you go vote.
James E. "Jamie" Mayo is mayor of Monroe.