MML delegates gathering in Biloxi this week

Municipal leaders from across the state are in Biloxi this week for the annual summertime Mississippi Municipal League conference, the largest of south Mississippi’s annual conventions.

About 3,000 municipal leaders and employees, state agency representatives, legislators and exhibitors are attending three days of meetings at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center. Some delegates actually began arriving Sunday and will be in Biloxi through Thursday morning.

Mayor A.J. Holloway, a former MML president, and Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes will formally welcome the group Tuesday morning during the opening session. Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney, as the city’s Employee Volunteer of the Year in 2013, will carry the city flag in the annual parade of flags during the opening session.

Topics of this year’s conference include state law updates, grant-writing, community health initiatives, beautification and preservation, infrastructure planning, community and economic development and using social media to promote local government.

Biloxi has hosted the convention for about 50 years now.

“There was one year when it was in Tunica,” said Beth Carriere, director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. “That was in 2006, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when the convention center could not accommodate the group. But Crystal Johnson, our sales director, was in Tunica at the convention that year, letting the attendees know that we were coming back, and we would be ready for them in 2007, which we were. We take business retention very seriously.”

Tourism staffers operate the MML convention registration booth and have a welcome booth with information about community attractions.

“This convention is great fit for us and for the delegates,” Carriere said. “It’s a time of the year when their families are available, and they can make a vacation out of it. They are reminded of how beautiful their Gulf Coast is, how friendly we are, how much we have to offer, and how affordable we are. And they can go back home with that message.”

Learn more: To find out more about the Mississippi Municipal League and its 289 member cities, towns and villages, click here.