CROWN OR FROWN FOR THE CITY OF MERIDIAN. We’re not sure where we fall on the city’s decision for Tax Incremental Financing for the Crossroads Phase II project and time will provide an answer.

We agree that new retail stores are needed to excite shoppers and keep them in Meridian or to attract them here.

True, new retail stores may take sales away from existing businesses, but in the long run, competition is healthy and the shopper will visit other stores, too, making additional purchases here rather than in Pearl, Ridgeland or another shopping destination. That’s a crown for East Mississippi.

The potential for the frown, however, lies in the city giving up future sales tax up to $3.1 million and signaling other developers incentives can be had.

Our greater concern is with the pattern of businesses that require struggling cities and counties – meaning taxpayers – to repeatedly ante up incentives as the price of their coming to town. Then, eventually, they move on to the next suitor. It is a vicious cycle, which has no end.

A CROWN TO BWI COMPANIES INC., which is now open in Marion and will celebrate its arrival with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday. The family company, based in Nash, Texas has been in business since 1958, and now employs 600 people in several states. Their relocation from Jackson brings 60 jobs to East Mississippi, and they intend to be here for the long haul.

The deal to get them to Marion demonstrates how city, county and state officials can work as a team with economic development leaders to attract businesses whose presence here benefits us all. 

A CROWN TO THE MERIDIAN FREEDOM PROJECT, which showed off its new home Thursday night at 725 Front St. Extension in the Acme Plaza.

The organization is based on the Freedom Schools of the 1960s and aims to prepare students for college and instill leadership skills by focusing on rhetoric, math and literature, according to director Adrian L. Cross.

The Freedom Project deserves support for providing a positive impact on our community.

A FROWN FOR THE FAILURE OF REVERSE AUCTION. The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to ditch a state-mandated, online bidding system, citing cost increases as much as 125 percent.

It’s a shame that costs rose. We wonder if more could have been done to solicit and educate potential bidders and therefore drive down costs, which competitive bidding should do.

We favor saving money and disagree with over-reliance by our city and county governments of using personal service contracts over competitive bidding. The result has been the same vendors being favored for almost every contract in the city and county.

That policy leads to complacency, excessive costs and fails to stimulate new business.

A CROWN TO THE CITY OF MERIDIAN for hosting its annual Fourth of July celebration at Bonita Lakes Park.

The annual celebration and fireworks show draws people from all over the region, old and young, Mayflower families and immigrants, from all economic backgrounds, religions and races to celebrate America as a community. You had only to look to the left or right to note that we are more alike than different.

In a time when division is difficult to escape, the themes that unite us are worth celebrating.

That the city offers this beautiful venue and sponsors such events brings a quality of life that’s cause to celebrate, too.

A BELATED CROWN TO STATE GAMES OF MISSISSIPPI. Final numbers won’t be available until August, but through May and June the 27th edition of the Games brought 42 sports and more than 6,000 participants to East Mississippi.

Those participants and their families stay in local hotels, eat at local restaurants, buy gas, food, ice, sunscreen and countless other items while they’re in town.

Not to be lost; they participate in healthy activities and provide entertainment for local residents. Remember to support those efforts when they return next May.

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