News Column

BRIEF: Pascagoula has more than $5M in Katrina debt forgiven

July 3, 2014

By Tammy Leytham, The Sun Herald

July 03--PASCAGOULA -- City leaders in Pascagoula received welcome news that FEMA would forgive $5,167,750 in Hurricane Katrina debt.

The amount includes principal and interest.

The money was used after Katrina on utilities and infrastructure, including streets, vehicles and repairs to public buildings, said city comptroller Bobby Parker.

"We had to fix or replace pretty much everything," he said.

Initially the FEMA loans were not forgiven because of changes in rules for disaster loans. "There were lots of hoops you had to jump through to meet forgiveness," he said.

City and county leaders across the Coast worked with the congressional delegation to get rules of debt forgiveness changed. "We were all pleading our case," Parker said.

And it helped. Amendments were made, and the city tried again.

"We had another round to see if we qualified," Parker said.

The city learned last week that under the new rules, the $5.1 million would be forgiven. The city still owes $2,412,726 in principal, but now has until 2035 to repay it.

"We needed this," said City Manager Joe Huffman. "This is big."


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Source: Sun Herald (Biloxi, MS)

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