Mayor of Murray's Twin City Offers Insight

May 4, 2012

The city of Murray faces an all-too-common problem these days: a steady demand for services while facing the necessity of budget cuts. For other communities in the country, the outlook isn’t quite so grim. And what they’ve done, or not done, could be instructive. So, we looked for a city similar to Murray and came up with Oxford, Mississippi, home of the University of Mississippi. Both cover 10 square miles; they were incorporated within seven years of each other; and both are located in counties south of another county named Marshall. Oxford’s population is just a thousand higher; and both Oxford and Murray sit at about the same height above sea level. But there are differences. While Murray wrangles with a budget gap, Oxford is booming. Tourism there is on the rise and their unemployment rate is one and third points below the national average, and falling. By contrast, Murray’s unemployment rate is half a point below the U.S. average. What is Oxford doing right? And what could Murray learn from its Mississippi doppelganger? To find out, Todd Hatton spoke with Oxford Mayor George Patterson.