Council to revisit city budget Tuesday

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich on Tuesday will again be asking the Biloxi City Council, which has final say on city spending, to OK a municipal budget for Fiscal Year 2020, which begins Oct. 1.

Gilich had hoped the budget would be approved at a meeting earlier this week, but councilmembers wanted to take another look at the spending plan, which proposes beginning the year with an $8 million fund balance, and expects revenue of $61.4 million and expenses of $64.9 million.

“I think it’s a good plan,” Gilich said. “We’re actually enhancing the day-to-day services we provide, especially in the areas of public safety, while continuing to do the things we must do to keep our community safe, grow our economy and improve our quality of life.

“As I’ve said all along, a budget is a projection, which will be adjusted as needed. The biggest consideration is to do the things you must do, enhance services where you can and do it all without raising anybody’s taxes.”

City operations are funded by three primary revenue streams, which for FY 2020 are projected to be: gaming taxes ($18.95 million), sales taxes ($12.65 million) and property taxes ($10.87 million).

Among the big-tickets items in the proposed FY 2020 budget:

— An $800,000 increase in annual payments to the state employee retirement system.

— Opening of new fire stations at Cedar Lake and Popp’s Ferry Road, and on Old Highway 67, east of Cedar Lake Road, which requires the hiring of nine new firefighters and addition of two new fire trucks. The station at Cedar-Popp’s also will include an outdoor training tower.

— The budget also includes the purchase of 16 fully-equipped police cruisers as well as vehicles in Parks, Engineering and Public Works to help maintain a dependable fleet of vehicles.

“These are just some of the big-ticket items,” Gilich said. “You’re also going to see progress on our waterfront initiatives, infrastructure work, and movement on the Keesler gate and the commercial corridor we’re creating on Division Street between I-110 and the new gate.”
City finances: See latest audit, from FY 2018, other info
See the agenda for special meeting Tuesday

Community breaks new ground in downtown

Community Bank has broken ground on its new Biloxi presence, a three-story, 15,000-square foot facility that will be in the heart of downtown Biloxi, at Lameuse Street and Howard Avenue.

“It’s exciting to see this much anticipated plan take the next step in coming to fruition,” said Eric Chambless, president of Community Bank’s Mississippi Coast Division. “Community Bank is proud to be a part of the vision to revitalize Downtown Biloxi, a community we have been a part of for 20-plus years, with the construction of this state-of the art new building.”

The Community Bank Biloxi Office will be where a federal courthouse once stood. The three-story facility, which will have about 25 employees, will be a full-service banking facility, offering lobby and drive-through teller banking, as well as lending, mortgage, wealth management, and executive offices. In addition, the top level of the facility will host a Community Room and two rooftop terraces for entertaining.

The bank is being designed to comply fully with the City of Biloxi’s Architectural Historical Review Committee’s Design Guidelines and will play a crucial role in continuing the momentum of downtown redevelopment in Biloxi.

Community Bank is one of the South’s fastest growing financial institutions, Chambless said. The bank now has $3.3 billion in assets with 50 offices and over 810 staff members stretching across four states in the Southeast, with offices in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida.
Video: See the ceremony
See the Community Bank website

News & notes: Weekend preview, podcast, Ward 5 meetingCensus

Weekend preview: First Friday takes place in downtown Biloxi tonight from 5 to 8, and the Biloxi Shuckers head to Pensacola for Game 3 of the Southern League Championship Series. Over at the casinos, the Australian Pink Floyd Show will be at the Hard Rock, and Ballroom with a Twist will take place at the Beau Rivage.  To see the Biloxi Community Calendar, click here. To see a complete weekend lineup, click here.

Podcast: This week’s City Desk podcast focuses on the new Community Bank soon to be built in Biloxi and discussions over the proposed city budget. To listen to the podcast, recorded this morning at Biloxi City Hall, click here.

Ward 5 meeting: West Biloxi Councilman Paul Tisdale will conduct a ward meeting on Monday at 6 p.m. at the Donal M. Snyder Sr. Community Center on Pass Road. Have a comment? Email Tisdale at

2020 Census: The Biloxi Historical and Cultural Society will hold a public meeting Monday at 6 p.m. at the Biloxi Community Development Department, 676 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., to discuss the past, present and future of the United States Census. For more information about the gathering, contact Librarian Jane Shambra at 228-435-4613.