Holloway vetoes park measure, proposes funding water-sewer work

Mayor A.J. Holloway says spending more than $100,000 to provide a shade structure in a park that already has four shade structures is too much money, and, the mayor added, the money would be coming from a fund that the state Attorney General says should not exist.

Holloway today vetoed a resolution that directed him to “proceed with the bid process for equipment for John Henry Beck Park.” Bids has been received in August, but the mayor balked at spending $101,000 for the Beck Park shade structure, which would be similar to a donated structure at Miramar Park on Beach Boulevard in west Biloxi.

In a resolution attached to his veto message, Holloway proposes to use the money toward an $850,000 match the city is obligated to provide for a $2 million grant for water and sewer work on Highway 67 in the Woolmarket community. The city, which had planned to borrow money for the project, will receive bids on the project in March.

Wrote Holloway in his veto message: “We already have four shade structures in Beck Park – including a gazebo, two pavilions and a covered spectator area immediately adjacent to the play equipment — as well as a collection of full-grown and newly planted shade trees.”

Funding for the project would come from a nearly $1 million “Ward 2 Projects” fund in the city budget. According to the state Attorney General, Holloway wrote, under the mayor-council form of government, council does not have the authority to allocate money to “unspecified streets and capital projects in each ward.”

The city budget, Holloway wrote, should “identify specific projects that will benefit the public and allocate funds for those specific projects accordingly, not to create discretionary accounts for individual council members. The Attorney General says that is improper; I say it’s unfair to the taxpayers, and I question its legality.”

The City Council, which passed the Beck Park resolution unanimously at its Feb. 17 meeting, will now have 10 working days to attempt an override of the mayor’s veto.

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To see the mayor’s veto message and attachments, click here.