August gets off to a rousing start

August, with its anomaly of five full weekends, launches with a stirring start this evening, with a Who Dat party in downtown Biloxi, VIPs at the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum where the general public gets to join Saturday morning, the first full weekend for the new White House Hotel, and a host of entertainment at Biloxi casino resorts.
See the weekend lineup of entertainment


Who Dats to gather in Downtown Biloxi 

Biloxi Main Street’s “Finally First Friday” this evening will be a Who Dat Tailgate Party, with plenty of black and gold, live entertainment, and an appearance by former Saints running back Buford Jordan.

The free event, which runs from 5 to 8 p.m. in downtown Biloxi, also will feature the Brett Mitchell Band, Dome Dogs and Dome Foam, and best touchdown celebration and best-dressed Saints fan contests.

Most of the activities will take place on the Rue Magnolia walking mall, also known as Mary Mahoney Way.
See a flyer about the event


Council to begin budget process next week 

City Council members will kick off the Fiscal Year 2015 budget process with their first budget meeting on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at City Hall.

This year, says David Nichols, the magic number is $53 million. “Right now,” Nichols says, “that’s the amount of money we project we’ll have to operate the city on a day-to-day basis.”

The $53 million figure does not include three major capital projects: the city’s ongoing $355 million federally-funded infrastructure project; the $36 million stadium project, which is being funded by $21 million in borrowed funds and a $15 million BP grant; and an ongoing $14 million street-paving program, also funded with borrowed money.

The operations budget is funded by the city’s three primary revenue streams are gaming taxes ($17 million projected), sales taxes ($11 million projected) and property taxes ($9 million projected). The remainder of the budget – about $16 million is derived from fines, grants, fees and rentals of city properties.

“Councilmembers will be taking their first look at available revenues during the meeting,” Nichols said. “The numbers are essentially flat, but we’re holding our own.”

About 80 percent of the operations budget is committed to personnel, Nichols said, “and 80 percent of that is for police and fire, so there’s not a lot to cut without getting into essential services.”

The municipal budget year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, and councilmembers usually have a new budget in place by mid-September.
See current city budget information
See the budget meeting agenda
See the afternoon meeting agenda


Development report: White House, seafood museum, Arbor Landing

By Jerry Creel, Community Development Director

This week in economic development, we saw the grand opening of the White House Hotel after a year of painstaking restoration. Also this week is the opening of the New Maritime and Seafood Museum. Both are beautiful additions to our tourism inventory of attractions.

Building permits were issued this week for Arbor Landing Apartments at 1850 Popp’s Ferry Road, and for the New Minor League Baseball Stadium. We should issue building permits for the New Parish Life Center at Saint Michael’s Church, and the Blind Tiger Restaurant on Beach Boulevard in the next few days.

We have 6 cases on the Planning Commission agenda, and 3 cases for the Zoning Board of Adjustments for public hearings to be held on August 7. There are currently no cases scheduled for the Development Review Committee for next week.

On the August 6  City Council Agenda, there are two applications for conditional use permits for temporary fireworks stands for the Christmas/New Year’s Holidays, and one application for a conditional use permit for short term rental in the downtown area.  All applications were approved by the Planning Commission as a recommendation to the City Council who will have the final vote.

During the month of July, we issued 291 building permits with a construction valuation of $45.9 million dollars, and issued 52 Certificates of Occupancy.


News and notes

No DRC: The Development Review Committee, which oversees new construction, is now scheduled  to meet next week. To see an archive of DRC agendas, click here.

No splashing: The city’s popular splash pad and playground at Point Cadet Plaza will be closing for two to three weeks beginning Aug. 4 so contractors can install a canvas shade cover over those areas. Those looking for a cool place can visit the Biloxi Natatorium.

Webcasting: White House Hotel Manager Cono Caranna tells you what you’ll see when you visit the storied Biloxi property in this week’s City Desk webcast. To listen to the program, click here.

Calendar: To see the city’s calendar of community events for August, click here.