City passes 5,000 mark on permits since Katrina

The city’s Community Development Department has issued more than 5,000 permits covering $121 million in construction work or repairs in the five months since Hurricane Katrina struck.

Mayor A.J. Holloway reports that 95 percent of the 5,033 permits were for storm-related repairs to homes or businesses, and that 78 percent of the $188 million in construction is storm-related. The city has issued 132 residential permits since the storm, with a valuation of more than $6 million.

The city is continuing to save Biloxi homeowners anywhere from $25 to $250 by waiving fees for storm-related building permits. After requests from the Biloxi City Council, Holloway extended the waiver until March, which is limited to city-issued permits for residential repairs. Businesses are required to pay permit fees.

“This was something that helped homeowners at a time when they already had a lot to deal with,” Holloway said. “We’ll continue waiving the fees to give homeowners a little more time to get their permits.”

For the five-month period covering September 2005 to Jan. 26, 2006, Community Development Director Jerry Creel reported the following figures:

Commercial building permits: 82, with a total value of $22.6 million

Residential building permits: 132 issued, value of $6.056 million

Commercial storm permits: 247 issued, value of $64.3 million

Residential storm permits: 2,414 issued, totaling $28.1 million ($56,888 in fees waived for homeowners.)

CSX crew moving down the line

The 80-member crew from CSX that had been repairing the majority of the 30 crossings in the nine miles of track in Biloxi has completed its work, with another CSX team expected to remove dormant tracks before re-opening crossings at Magnolia and Delauney streets in downtown Biloxi.

CSX’s Donnie Wiggins, who oversaw repairs to crossings and provided daily updates on work, said he appreciated the motoring public’s patience in enduring numerous closings in the past two weeks.

CSX, according to a Mississippi Operation Lifesaver spokesperson, will soon have as many as 17 trains a day using its Gulf Coast line, and plans to be up to its full complement of 35 trains a day using the line in mid-March.

A limited number of freight trains is now running on part of the CSX line on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Operation Lifesaver spokesperson said the trains also would be moving at a reduced speed in order to help compact the repaired areas of the railway.

To see a flier Operation Lifesaver was distributing along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, click here.

Picture this: The world premiere of ‘Katrina & Biloxi’

Photographer August Taconi of Biloxi snapped nearly two dozen photos from Sunday night’s world premiere of the documentary “Katrina & Biloxi” at the Saenger Theater.

To see Taconi’s photos from the standing-room-only affair and to get convenient online ordering information, click here.

Newsletter on way to Ward 6 residents

Ward 6 City Councilman Ed Gemmill has a newsletter in the mail to residents of the North Bay area. Among the issues: MDOT’s proposed north-south connector, re-opening of Popp’s Ferry bridge, the discussions over FEMA temporary trailer parks, and phone numbers for key city contacts.

To read the newsletter, click here.