Chamber audience has breakfast with the mayor

It had been a year and a half since the Biloxi Chamber had its Breakfast with the Mayor gathering, and when the COVID-safe event took place at the IP Casino Resort, Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich was wound up, leading the audience through more than two dozen city projects either completed or underway since the last gathering.

Gilich opened his 20-minute presentation with a heartfelt thanks to city employees, the business community and residents in general. It was a challenging year, he said, but one that also presented opportunity.

 At the outset of the pandemic, in March 2020, the city was midway through its fiscal year and on track for a record-setting year. By mid-March, the city had already collected 94 percent of its gaming revenue for that month, and, then, “poof,” the mayor said, “it goes away.”

¬†“What do you do?” he asked the audience, which the chamber and IP limited to fewer than a hundred people.

COVID, Gilich declared, played a role in Biloxi being able to reduce monthly water bills for residents and businesses, as he recounted efforts the city undertook to reduce its debt service. Improved interest rates saved the city nearly $1.5 million in payments involving MGM Park, and the city also reduced water rates after the refinancing of Harrison County Utility Authority debt. And, he pointed out, passed the savings onto Biloxi residents and businesses.

In fact, the mayor displayed his own water bill — 4,000 gallons used — showing a $2 reduction in the bill.

Speaking without notes and away from the podium, the mayor rattled through a host of city projects and his views on issues. Included were updates on multiple boardwalk and boat launch projects, the importance of the new Keesler gate, the status of Saenger renovations, the future of the Biloxi Lighthouse Pier and sand in general, city finances, the Woolmarket City Center opening, and infrastructure progress. He strived for brevity.

“I know it’s Breakfast with the Mayor,” he said at the outset, “not Breakfast and Lunch with the Mayor.”
See the video