by Hunter Dawkins

At the Harrison County Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting Monday morning in the Gulfport Courthouse, Sheriff Troy Peterson asked for a new unit to patrol the beach along with a few vehicles.  BOS Chairman Dr. Marlin Ladner of District 3 (Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport) stepped away for personal reasons.

After Peterson reported the number of people (782) currently housed in the Harrison County Jail facilities, he addressed the BOS with figures expressing a need for the proposed beach control unit due to a large amount of theft, burglaries and other crimes happening south of Highway 90.  Supervisor Kent Jones of District 4 (Gulfport) stated a need for the BOS to be proactive rather than reactive on this matter supporting Sheriff Peterson.

District 2 Supervisor Angel Kibler-Middleton (Gulfport) and District 1 Supervisor Beverly Martin (Biloxi) inquired to the sheriff about the amount of money needed to create this and the cost analysis with seasons.  Sheriff Peterson  listed a price of $100,000 dollars to set up this activity in the county.  The BOS chose to place this request under advisement.

Before the discussion, the BOS approved accepting the Harrison County Beautification Commission of grants, gifts and donations from public and private sources not to exceed $50,000 for use on projects.  Supervisor Martin asked if the beautification commission had a checking account, which Harrison County Administrator Pam Ulrich said they did.

Acting Chair, District 5 Supervisor Connie Rocko (Biloxi, D’Iberville) told Martin that this was pursuant to the 2007 Mississippi State Senate Bill 3222.  The BOS voted 4-1 with Martin voting against.

Then, County Zoning Administrator Patrick Bonk requested the BOS accept the Planning Commission’s recommendation on a permit, change three zoning classification and set a public hearing to adjudicate a Pass Christian property to determine if this was a health safety while assessing costs to the property owners.  The BOS voted unanimously to approve these suggestions.

Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Patania was recognized and spoke on behalf of the mental health crisis throughout the state whereas the BOS approved an advertisement with a request for proposals with professional assessment of mental health resources available in Harrison County.

Finally, the BOS authorized the Chancery Clerk to pay the Long Beach Water Management District docket of claims, including $40 for three people in attendance of regular meetings, $11,501 to Dukes, Dukes, Keating and Faneca, P.A. Trust Account for permanent drainage easement for Canal No. 1 and over $2500 to the same law firm for attorney fees from mid-November to mid-December.

To begin the BOS meeting, long-time Pineville community resident and educator Ida Shaw was presented a resolution by Chairman Ladner for her 100th birthday followed by the family of highly decorated, but deceased veteran George Thatcher.