Huge MML convention in town next week

More than 3,000 people, elected leaders from across the state, exhibitors and presenters will be in town for several days next week for the annual Mississippi Municipal League summer conference, one of the Coast’s largest annual conventions.

“The MML Annual Conference is the largest association conference held in the state each year,” said Shari T. Veazey, executive director of MML, which represents 295 city, town and village governments in Mississippi.

“Our conference offers a variety of educational programs presented by subject matter experts in the areas of economic and retail development, budgeting and finance, human resources, grant writing, infrastructure development and many other relevant topics. Municipal elected officials from across the state also have the opportunity to meet and share ideas and common challenges with each other.”

The conference, which will be presented at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center, officially opens Tuesday morning with a general session, but delegates are expected to begin arriving Sunday night and Monday. The conference ends Wednesday night.

Mayors Andrew “FoFo” Gilich of Biloxi and Billy Hewes of Gulfport will address the general session, and the Biloxi Police and Fire Departments will present the colors to begin a Parade of Flags representing member city and towns.


Holloway, Wall to be recognized

During the gathering, two longtime Biloxi leaders — former Mayor A.J. Holloway and the late former City Councilmember Tom Wall — will be inducted into the Mississippi Municipal League Hall of Fame when the convention takes place next week in Biloxi.

Holloway, Biloxi’s longest-serving mayor, served 5½ terms as mayor before resigning in 2015 and served one term as Ward 3 councilmember. In all, he served 26 years with the City of Biloxi.

Wall served five terms as Ward 5 councilmember, representing west Biloxi for 19 years and seven months before his death in 2013.

“These are two leaders who dedicated themselves to making Biloxi a better place,” said Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, whose office nominated both for the honor.


‘Signs of a Successful City’

The conference theme is “Signs of a Successful City!,” and will highlight and celebrate the characteristics of success that can be found when local officials effectively use innovative, forward-thinking approaches and engaging methods to improve the quality of life for their citizens.

Among those attending will be municipal elected officials, municipal employees, state agency representatives, legislators and exhibitors. Many newly elected officials are expected to be first-time attendees, and MML has designated several classes as especially recommended to newly elected officials.

Many state and federal agencies will provide speakers for the more than 60 different educational sessions that will be offered at this year’s conference, including the Attorney General’s office, State Auditor’s office, Mississippi Development Authority, Mississippi Planning and Development Districts and MDEQ, among others.

Session topics include state law updates, grant writing, community health initiatives, municipal liability issues, community and economic development, retail development, disaster recovery, and water and sewer issues.


Exhibit area has sold out, twice

One of the more popular areas of the convention is the exhibit hall, where 200 vendors shows their products and services to conventioneers. Those walking the rows of booths will find anything from fire trucks and street sweepers to elevated water tank maintenance firms.

“This year’s exhibit hall has sold out twice,” said MML Marketing Coordinator Samantha Hill. “We sold out, then we added extra space and we’ve sold that out as well.

“Exhibitors realize that if they exhibit at the MML conference they are are putting their products and services in front of municipal officials from across the state. It’s a great opportunity for exhibitors and leaders of city and towns.”
Visit the MML website


News and notes

Be prepared for a storm:  August, traditionally the busiest time of hurricane season, is just around the corner, and the question must be asked: “What’s in your hurricane kit?” To see what you should have on hand, and what you should do before, during and after a storm,  click here

Traffic advisories: To see the latest traffic advisories in Biloxi, click here.