Thursday, June 24, 2004

'Livable City' recognition comes with a price tag

National recognition recently bestowed on Jackson cost taxpayers thousands of dollars. But Mayor Johnson, however, says the price is well worth it.

In April, Jackson was named one of the most livable U.S. cities by the Washington D.C.-based Partners for Livable Communities and paid $10,000 to be included on the organization's Web site.

Awards that require such payments have caused a stir in some newspapers around the country. Critics say payments attached to the awards diminish the significance. City leaders defend the awards as worth their weight in publicity.

Jackson's payment was a requirement to be listed on the Partners for Livable Communities' Web site. Projects planned throughout town and special events are outlined on the site until a new crop of livable cities is named in four years.

Winning cities were listed in USA Today and awards were given at the National Press Club in Washington, he said. The fee was not a condition of receiving the award, Robert H. McNulty, president and CEO of Partners for Livable Communities, said in a statement on the Web site. The money funds the maintenance of the Web page, and it was the first time the organization had a fee.


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