News Column

Gulfport council moves forward with $30 million water, sewer bond issue

June 18, 2014

By Mary Margaret Halford, The Sun Herald

June 18--GULFPORT -- The city is a step closer to working on up to $30 million in projects after the City Council passed a bond issue Tuesday. With that will come water- and sewer-rate hikes, but city officials are unsure of how much those will be.

Much of the money will be used to fix aging water and sewer systems, including pump-station rehabilitation and work on dilapidated pipes across Gulfport.

Councilman R.Lee Flowers said the projects will mean water and sewer rates will go up to pay off the bonds.

Flowers said no decision has been made about how much of an increase residents will see.

"That's a discussion we haven't completed yet," he said. "Going into this next budget season, which is next month, I suspect we'll have a longer and better conversation about that."

"This has been a multi-phase vote," he said. "There will be other votes later on when we start awarding the projects that are underneath that bond."

Though no timeline has been set, work is expected to begin in the fall when contracts are put out to start the projects.

City officials said the aging water and sewer systems must be dealt with because the projects have gone unfunded under previous administrations.

"We've got lines collapsing all over the place," Councilman Myles Sharp said.

Also, sewage backs up into homes in some subdivisions after heavy rains. Decaying lines and other aging infrastructure also are a problem in other areas of the city.

A water tower in Bayou View has made the list of repairs.

"It's just old, it's been there a while and needs to be replaced," said Wayne Miller, city public works director.

Flowers said there have been some conversations about building a natatorium in the city that could be used by residents and area schools.

Anita Lee, Sun Herald reporter, contributed to this report.


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Source: Sun Herald (Biloxi, MS)

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