Big issues before mayor, council

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich has now crafted five municipal budgets since he was elected mayor just before budget time in 2015, but he readily admits it’s a little different this year.

“Sure, the revenue situation has been fluid,” Gilich said, “especially since the COVID-19 diminished our two major revenue streams, gaming and sales taxes, but even councilmembers readily admit that it’s not as catastrophic as some may have feared.”

In fact, the mayor presented members of the City Council this week a draft budget that proposes a 25 percent reduction in some revenue streams for the approaching Fiscal Year, which begins Oct. 1. The mayor and council are expected to draft a new spending plan over the course of several public meetings in the next several weeks.

“It all gets back to one thing: the bottom line,” Gilich said. “That’s what drives any business. And you impact your bottom line in one of three ways: you reduce expenses, you increase revenue and you manage your assets better. We have outperformed our budget every year. We’ve been able to keep expenses below the projected amounts, and this year we were benefiting from a surging Biloxi economy as we came into this year. It’s going to take some work, and I know we can do it without impacting services.”

The budget discussions — along with frank public policy discussions about property rights, land-use and zoning and economic development — dominated the city council’s two gatherings on Tuesday.

You can see a replay of the meetings this evening at 9, with a repeat daily at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. through next week. BTV airs in Biloxi on Sparklight 56 or Uverse 99 or worldwide at
See BTV now, along with online schedule
YouTube: See the City Council meeting from Tuesday (84 minutes)
YouTube: See the budget workshop from Tuesday
See city financial information

News & notes: COVID testing canceled; traffic update

Drive up testing: The drive-up COVID-19 screening and testing set for Thursday at the Biloxi Civic Center has been postponed until a future date. Expected inclement weather is the reason for Memorial Hospital to reschedule.

Traffic: See the latest on road work and traffic throughout the city in Traffic Update, published online each day by the city’s Engineering Department. To see the update, along with links to MDOT traffic cameras and Gulf Regional Planning Commission traffic counts, click here.