by Hunter Dawkins

After a lengthy executive session at the First Judicial Courthouse in Gulfport on Wednesday, the Harrison County Board of Supervisors decided to separate the Parks & Recreation Department from the Harrison County Fairgrounds.  Following this action, a new department will be created for the fairgrounds.

A regular outspoken critic of the management for the Parks & Recreation Department; District 2 Supervisor Angel Kibler-Middleton, was absent from the meeting.  Recently, Middleton chose to leave the supervisors and was elected constable for the same district in the recent primary runoff on August 27.

Towards the end of the meeting, Harrison County Sand Beach Director Chuck Loftis informed the board of a presentation that was happening on Friday at the Bolton Building in Biloxi.  Governor Phil Bryant would be down to discuss the release of funding for the GOMESA projects that were appropriated for the beaches of Gulfport.

The Board of Supervisors expressed a dislike because of the lack of jurisdiction.  Under the state law, the Harrison County Board of Supervisors have the legal jurisdiction for anything that occurs on the beaches of Harrison County.

Finally, Loftis notified the board that an epidemic of the homeless from Long Beach to Biloxi were sleeping on the beaches.  The Sand Beach Director noted about his attempt to reach out to municipalities police departments, only to be turned down because of jurisdiction.

District 5 Supervisor Connie Rocko called this “a health issue” and asked Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson if there was anything that could be done.  Peterson responded of there not being much, that he requested money earlier this year to create a patrol for the beaches to stop problems like this from occurring.  During this meeting, the Board did not approve the sheriff’s request because of costs.

In other actions, the county board of supervisors unanimously approved the memorandum of understanding between the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office and the Pass Christian School District for providing law enforcement officers for the term of two years, adopted the salary supplements for county employees in the district attorney’s office under a statutory rule, and approved the request from the Feed My Sheep organization for an appropriation in the amount of $10,000 authorized in the 2017 State Senate Bill 2926.  This Senate Bill will release these appropriation funds for 3 more years.

Beginning the meeting, Sheriff Peterson was recognized and gave the total number of 796 inmates at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center whereas 119 were charged with misdemeanors and 134 of these prisoners were females.

The next meeting is scheduled for October 7 at the First Judicial Courthouse in Gulfport at 9:30am.