by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher – editor@thegazebogazette.com

Mississippi State House members Richard Bennett and Carolyn Crawford both arrived at Tuesday night’s Pass Christian Board of Aldermen meeting to present an outstanding announcement to the city for all the funds it will be receiving from the federal and state governments.  Both representatives had a portion of Pass Christian for the last decade until the new redistricting areas come forward in the next election.

“The rest of the state resents the Coast, although a lot of money for the state comes from here,” expressed House Education Committee chairman Bennett in addressing each segment of the funds.  “Because of the lack of jobs and funding from these areas, it’s understandable.”

After calculating the grants given to the city, an overwhelming estimation of $12,848,215 will be awarded to Pass Christian through GOMESA funding for Fiscal Year 2021 & 22, Gulf Coast Restoration Funds (GCRF), Capital Expenditure Grant, and Tidelands appropriation.

In discussing the huge win for Pass Christian, Bennett thanked the city’s main executive.  “Mayor (Jimmy) Rafferty has come up to Jackson about as much as I have and connected with other influential lawmakers of the state, which helped selling the projects.”

During his explanation of the grants and appropriation funding, Representative Bennett went into detail for each stating that GOMESA money is federal money from the oil leases and there is a criteria for the money to be spent on something going into the Gulf of Mexico. 

Therefore, water and sewage projects do qualify.  Pass Christian will or has received over $7.5 from GOMESA funds. “That is huge, no else has gotten it,” stated Bennett.  

Moving through the rest of the appropriation, the city received over $3 million in GCRF funding; which are BP Restoration money from the oil spill, $1.25 million in Capital Expenditure funds from the state legislature general budget, and $175,000 given by the Tidelands budget.

Bennett explained that 95% of Tidelands’ money comes from casino leases for the use of bottom lands and the funds come back to the public.

Before ending, both Representatives thanked Mayor Rafferty for his time spent in Jackson attempting to gain these funds for the city and the projects.