VERONA, Miss. (WTVA) -- When Bill Huddleston decided to buy a house Verona was his first choice. He wishes more people would do that same.
"Sometimes I worry about Verona getting a bad rap, but that's just a lot of talk. What I want people to do is to come and see Verona for themselves. Come to see what Verona has to offer and It's something good."
"People have such a negative attitude about Verona and we're not a bad place at all. We have some very good people here and I would like to see more people own homes and take pride in their community," Verona resident Alice Sandercock said.
"When a person owns their property it seems like to me they keep it up a little bit better," Verona resident Dorl Jones said.
With that in mind, the city has plans in the works to open up a line of communication with rental property owners who outnumber homeowners.
All this effort comes at a time when the city suffers a black eye-a fatal shooting in a residential neighborhood. The officers-involved shooting remains under investigation.
"It kind of hurts our image a little bit when we have crime or unkempt properties and things like that. It seems like the politician isn't doing everything they can," Verona Alderwoman Margaret Baker said.
Baker says despite a limited budget, they plan to pursue a cleaner city one property at a time.
Mayor Trice says now is a time to heal.
"We just have to keep moving forward and think positive and just do the right thing and I think if we do that, we won't really have anything to worry about."
"The people have to come together. When you've got people coming together as one, that can improve anything," Huddleston added.
"When I first came on board in 2001 my dream was to make Verona a place to work, shop and invest and be proud," Baker added.