MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Meridian's mayor is exploring an option which supporters say could attract more grant money for the city. Mayor Percy Bland is looking to team up with former Hattiesburg mayor turned consultant Johnny DuPree. Both men met with city council members during this week's work session. DuPree's proposal is to establish a more formal formula to bridge community groups together to attract more grant money for Meridian.
"Yeah, you can generate grants after you get the support of the citizens," says DuPree. "If citizens know what you're doing, and they buy into what you're doing, it not only helps with the proposal, but it also helps with getting the grants. You can't do that if you just meet in isolation, when everybody is having their own meeting because that's all that you're having is a meeting. This is formally bringing the community together and deciding what course of action do we want to take."
During DuPree's 16 year tenure as Mayor of Hattiesburg he helped to attract more than $40 million in grant money to the Hub City. Mayor Bland's proposal is for the City of Meridian to enter a one year, $30,000 contract with DuPree's consulting firm. City council members are considering the proposal.