An extraordinary interest rate, and plenty of ‘old’ news

Here is the prepared text of Mayor A.J. Holloway’s presentation to the Breakfast with the Mayor audience on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011. The breakfast, sponsored by the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce, was hosted by Biloxi Regional Medical Center.

Good morning, and thank y’all for being here this morning.

I especially want to thank our hosts, Biloxi Regional Medical Center, which, of course, is now working on a second hospital for Biloxi, out at Cedar Lake.

We welcome that $132 million investment and what it means for the future of healthcare for north and south of the Bay. Thank you, Monte.

OK, so I know, that’s old news.

Just like the more than a billion dollars in construction that we’ve seen here in Biloxi since the storm.

But that’s what I’m going to give you today – an update on old news, some new news and some good news.

You know that we cut the ribbon on the new Palace Casino Resort on Friday, a $50 million investment.

You probably know that McElroy’s is looking to open sometime after the first of the year.

The Walmart Superstore will be open in January, Sharkheads will be opening in March, and Margaritaville looks like it’s on track to open in April or May.

Here in downtown Biloxi, you can see that Mike Hutter’s building is being repaired, and it’s going to have six market-rate apartments on the second floor.

The new Port City CafĂ© and Bike Rental have filled up the vacant spots on the CTA Building, and right now, you can see the work going on on a new piano bar that’s going to be in the old eye clinic a couple doors south of City Hall.

But, like I said, you probably know about all of that.

You also know that we bought the old library across from the Half Shell, and we’re going to open bids tomorrow on restoring that building, which is the National Register of Historic Places.

We’ve also been talking for a few months about new housing being built in Biloxi.

There’s the Scarborough subdivision, a 60-lot subdivision being built by Breland Homes on Wash Fayard Road and John Lee Road. There’s the Peacock-Peoples subdivision that’s also on Wash Fayard and Lorraine Road. It’s 172 lots.

And, of course, Hidden Springs would have 409 lots in northwest Biloxi.

Breland is continuing to build out the 72 lots in Villa Toscano on Atkinson Road.

The Biloxi Housing Authority has 77 lots in Beauvoir Pass, which is on Pass Road at Agincourt, and Phase 2 of Malpass Landing out on Brashier Road has been approved for construction.

Something else that you probably already know about is the new Santa Maria Del Mar that the Catholic Diocese is building off Popp’s Ferry and Cedar Lake Roads. That 24 million dollar project, all 209 units, may be completed as soon as June.

But, like I said, you probably already know about all of that.

I want to close with something that you might have missed.

Just a few weeks ago, we had something happen that we hadn’t see happen in many decades. We’ve been following interest rates and the financial markets, and we’ve been watching for any opportunities.

The first thing that you have to do is have your finances reviewed by national firms.

They want to see your past performance, your current condition and your future outlook. In short, they want to see how WE’RE managing YOUR money.

We had been upgraded to an AA- credit rating, which is where we were before the storm.

But the best news is this. We used that improved rating to re-finance about $9 million in outstanding debt, and we hit the market at the right time.

We have received an interest rate of 1.9 percent, which I think is the lowest rate this city has ever received. We’re going to save a total of $700,000 in interest payments.

So, today, I’ve given you some old news, some new news, and some good news. Now, let’s hear your questions. I’m sure we’ll make more news.