Budget Focus of Gulfport Council

About 30 non-staff people were in the audience to participate in the 2018-2019 budget discussion process at the Tuesday, June 5 regular meeting of the Gulfport City Council.

Topics brought up during public comment included a line item labeled “beach sand” at a cost of $20,000; shade sails for the beach playground area at a cost of $62,468; and Williams Pier evaluation and repairs at a cost of $170,000.

“This is the first time since I have been city manager for 10 years that we have proposed funding for repairs to the pier,” said City Manager Jim O’Reilly.

Mayor Sam Henderson reminded those in attendance that the council was not approving any budget items during the meeting, as the focus was discussion only.

The three categorical priorities of the proposed budget are public safety, infrastructure like grading alleys and paving sidewalks, in addition to utilities including upgrades and repairs to the sanitary sewer system, said O’Reilly.

Annually, the city budgets for alley improvements. For the new budget year, $47,000 is proposed.

“Residents who would like their alley inspected for possible grading can contact Tom Nichols,” director of the city’s Public Works Department, said O’Reilly. Nichols can be reached at 727-893-1090.

The remaining dates for addressing the content of the next year’s budget include the presentation of a utility rate study on June 19, discussion of the formal proposed budget and adoption of the proposed millage rate on July 17, followed by the first reading of the proposed budget on September 4 and final its adoption on September 18.

To review selected items regarding capital improvements included in the proposed budget, visit tinyurl.com/y86kavcs.

The city council regularly meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7 p.m. in City Hall, 2401 53rd Street S. There will be no regular council meeting on Tuesday, July 3 to allow time to prepare for the July 4 holiday on Wednesday.

Park Bench Dedication Date Set

Karen Love, chairperson for the annual Pink Flamingo Tour of Homes in Gulfport, announced that the group is dedicating two donated benches in Caldwell Park on Tuesday, June 19 beginning at 6:15 p.m. so councilmembers will have the opportunity to attend before their regular meeting that same night, which starts at 7 p.m.

Caldwell Park, at 64th Street South and Gulfport Boulevard South, was chosen because it is located in the northwest area of the city where the 2018 home tour took place on March 3 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., said Love.

The event began in the 1990s and is the most successful fundraiser for the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce, according to tour’s website. Each year, the tour takes place on the first Saturday of March and tickets are available beginning in December.

A new goal of the annual event is to give back to each featured neighborhood, said Love.

“There are benches inside the playground area at Caldwell Park, but none on the outside for people to rest who may be walking their dogs,” she said.

For more information, visit pinkflamingohometour.com.

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