by Calvin Ishee, Associate Publisher

The race for Alderman of Ward 3 is entering the final stretch with both candidates aggressively racing for the finish line.

To that end both candidates, incumbent Alderman Anthony Hall and challenger Kirk Kimball were both given an opportunity to make one last plea to the voters regarding key issues facing the City of Pass Christian.

Gazebo Gazette: Residents from Ward  3 have been raising issues about the Pass Estates housing for the last few months, what if anything can the city do to hold the developer accountable?

Alderman Hall: “When the mayor, community developer, fire chief, WPSCO and myself met the developer representative, they said they were going to do a better job with their maintenance program.  The city community developer {code office} should hold them accountable if the residents are having issues with their home.  So, we need to hold them to their word.“

GG:  Do you feel that city positions should be filled while the current administration or wait until after June 30?   

AH:  “I felt in the case of the public works department it should have been filled, so that the new administration would not be without a department head, all other positions can wait, also the new mayor has the right to appoint his own department head.”

GG:  Seeing that the next budget will be developed soon, what is the top priority for ward 3?

AH:  “I would like to see money put in the budget to fix and pave the area at North Street, Henderson and North Street and Hiern Street, and also to get the sidewalk project moving on north street.”

GG:  What is your position on how city board and commissions should be filled? Should residents be limited to one board only?  Should each ward be represented on each board/commission?

AH:  “I think that each ward should be represented on the commission and feel that a person should be limited to one commission or no more than two.“

GG: Your opponent just released an editorial in the gazebo gazette, would you like to respond?

AH:  “First of all if my opponent would have been living here over the past 16 years he would have seen that the two hotels, the development on Davis around the hardware store in Ward 3 is built, the Henderson avenue park, Pass Estates is also part of my doing to get people back to pass Christian after Signature Lake did not build back, the paving of St. Paul and Amar.  My opponent is being a typical politician, a fast talker and full of lies and empty promises, he will say what needs to be said to get elected.“

GG:  What’s is your biggest accomplishment in your 17 years of service?  What are you most proud of?

AH:  “I would say over the 17 years I have seen real growth in Ward 3 with the housing that is being built.  Also, the rebuilding of the city offices and the new police station, I’m glad to have our dispatch back in our city.

GG:  Residents from Ward 3 have been raising issues about the Pass Estates housing for the last few months. What, if anything, can the city do to hold the developer accountable?

Kirk Kimball:  “The issues at Pass Estates have persisted for a number of years and have come to light because of this election year.  I certainly feel that the current Alderman should have been working on the problems during his tenure. This is part of a larger problem where residents feel the ongoing problems have been ignored and that nothing is being done in Ward 3.  It is my understanding that the current Mayor has met with the developer to discuss the issues.  These problems will not be solved overnight but I will make sure that Pass Christian is not littered with uninhabitable homes regardless of the owners or where they are located.“

GG:  Do you feel the city positions should be filled under the current administration or wait until after June 30?

KK:  “I will respect whatever decision the current administration makes on this issue but we all must work together for the common goal of Pass Christian.  The candidate should be the best person for the job whose qualifications will improve the City of Pass Christian.  My policy will always be Pass Christian – First.”

GG:  Seeing that the budget will be developed soon, what is the top priority for Ward 3?

KK: “The most important aspects of the budget in Ward 3 will be infrastructure:  cleaning ditches, maintaining drainage, repairing roads and eliminating potholes. We need to provide equipment that will maintain our city.  We must also create more recreation for our children with ballparks and fields.  I also believe in providing our city employees with a healthier salary by providing pay raises, especially to First Responders and Public Works employees who keep our city safe & clean.  However, I will always be mindful of being fiscally responsible and keeping a balanced budget.  Lastly, we will repair the harbor, which is an economy in itself.  I will work with the federal and state governments on the issues at the harbor to maximize the space and to utilize the beauty of the beach and the Gulf to improve our economy.”

GG:  What is your position on how City Board & Commissions should be filled?  Should residents be limited to one board only? Should each ward be represented on each board/commission?

KK: “I am a proponent of community involvement.  The more residents that are involved only make the city better.  That makes us learn how to work together. Whatever the composition of the boards or commissions, we must not prevent good ideas and solutions from being considered.“

GG: What’s the one thing that sets you apart from your opponent?

KK:  “There are bold differences between me and my opponent.  I am results-oriented; not looking for reasons why things cannot be done.  I am a businessman who makes decisions for the present and future; not what is politically expedient at the moment.  I hold no allegiance to any party or organization.  I hold no favor to any class, race or gender.  My first and only pact is with you, the citizens of Pass Christian.  I do not intend to make a career out of being an Alderman. I am not here for the salary or retirement pension.  I commit to being an Alderman full-time because that is the only way I will be able to solve some of the problems that have persisted all of these years.  I do this for the love of my city.

GG:  What are the biggest issues or things that you would like to accomplish in the next 4 years?

KK: “I want to attract more businesses to the Pass.  North Street must have more businesses.  We must also provide basic services to our citizens and improve infrastructure, clean ditches and maintain roads.  I also want to keep our city crew motivated and happy to work at the city by providing better pay.  We will beautify the Pass and remove derelict homes and clean vacant lots.  I will work to reform building codes and provide more recreation for our kids all the while, maintaining lower taxes.“

So there you have it straight from the candidates mouth and now it’s time for the voters to decide on who will represent Ward 3 for the next four years.

The choice is yours, please take the time to vote in the General Election on June 8, 2021.  May the best candidate win.