by Hunter Dawkins
Monday morning at the Harrison County Courthouse in Biloxi, Sheriff Troy Peterson certainly didn’t receive what he wanted. After the Harrison County Sheriff read his report on the total number of people currently housed in the Harrison County Jail Facility (772), Peterson brought up his plan from the previous meeting to employ four School Resource Officers along with vehicles to patrol the beach.
As the issue was ruled to go under advisement in the last meeting, District 3 Supervisor and Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Dr. Marlin Ladner (Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport) let Sheriff Peterson be recognized due to his absence for personal reasons. The Sheriff said that 138 cases were reported from April until July from 2018 statistics to help his suggestion to the Board.
Once Supervisors Angel Kibler-Middleton and Beverly Martin expressed their differences of opinion about this plan; such as the timeline and money involved, the Board of Supervisors rejected this proposal 3-2 (NAY: Kibler-Middleton, Martin, Rocko, YEA: Jones, Ladner). District 4 Supervisor (Gulfport) Kent Jones pointed out again the board should be proactive instead of reactive.
Beginning the meeting, a discussion about concurring resolutions for exemptions of Ad Valorem Taxes and grants for Free Port Warehouse license Tax Exemptions were presented. Five businesses asked for these exemptions and were recommended by the Harrison County Development Commission.
“The commission needs to check the criteria,” said Dr. Ladner addressing the Executive Director of the Harrison County Development Commission, Bill Lavens. District 2 Supervisor (Gulfport) Kibler-Middleton asked about the benefit to the county followed by Dr. Ladner stating that if the county granted these tax exemptions, “our investment is up in the air.”
The Harrison County Board of Supervisors denied four out of the six recommendations, tabled one based on the confusion of the application, and unanimous approval to Klumb Forest Products due to their longevity of business, This recommendation was authorized under the Mississippi Code granting a Free Port Warehouse license tax exemption on the personal property shipped out of state for a maximum period of time.
Pursuing this action, the Board unanimously approved the Planning Commission’s suggestion to change the zoning district classification for a parcel of land. The property on Vic Faye Road in Pass Christian made the proposal for the purpose of building a warehouse and storage facility, which require a permit from the Planning Commission.
Finally, the approval of Bobby Payne, Sr. as Assistant County Attorney pursuant to the authority of the County was unanimously adopted. The concern came with making an amendment to the budget for salary purposes.
Kristi Hicks spoke first on the agenda, as she is a partnership specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau. Hicks informed the Board of Supervisors that the Census Bureau recently moved from Dallas to Atlanta. She attempted to raise awareness of the 2020 U.S. Census, but District 5 Supervisor (Biloxi) Connie Rocko advocated a need for change in the application due to personal questions.