The 2016 budget has officially been passed after council unanimously voted on it again for its second reading.
“We’ve successfully completed another budget year,” Mayor Sam Henderson said when congratulating his staff.
The $27,320,183 budget was proposed and officially adopted by council who had another meeting that featured mostly housekeeping events on Tuesday evening.
The ad valorem tax was also unanimously passed on its second reading. Both items will take effect on October 1 of this year. Council also authorized the city manager to extend the lease with the Gulfport Yacht club for five years.
Two resolutions were resolved; one authorizing city manager Jim O’Reilly to extend the six-cent local option fuel tax, and another that will enter the city in an agreement with Florida Department of Education/Division of Blind Services to add a snack bar/vending machines at the Gulfport Senior Center.
“The Senior Center Foundation used to provide employees with merchandise for resale,” O’Reilly said. “They no longer wish to participate in that service.”
O’Reilly continued saying that the city wishes to provide them with “well rounded” food. O’Reilly assured that the vending machine will contain sandwiches and other better quality foods than just snacks.
Vice Mayor Yolanda Roman gave an update on the condition of Clam Bayou and was pleased to share the news that the water quality has improved.
“The water and the readings continue to improve,” Roman said. “I had an opportunity to go on a nice, hour-long tour of Clam Bayou to really see first hand our bayou and some of the impact.”
Roman also addressed the growing concern regarding the plans for a bike trail that will run through local residential neighborhoods. Roman explained that the current plans are “just a proposal, a draft, and are subject to changes, edits, and approval.”
Council held a meeting regarding the trail on Monday evening that was called a “wild west meeting” by Mayor Henderson, who also described it as one of the best meetings he’s attended.