Council Approves New City Vehicles, Announces Federal Grant 

At the Thursday, November 15 Gulfport Council meeting, which was moved to Thursday due to the holidays, the purchase of new city vehicles and the re-surfacing of various parking areas was considered for approval, along with a federal grant to assist with Hurricane Irma cleanup costs. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be granting Gulfport $541,345 to assist with 2017’s Hurricane Irma-related expenses. 

According to City Manager Jim O’Reilly, the budget amendment is authorized, and the city is waiting on FEMA to send the funds. The effective date of the grant is currently unclear. 

“This is basically just covering the cleanup costs associated with [the hurricane],” O’Reilly said. 

After a declared disaster, the FEMA program pays for debris removal, the costs of preparation for the hurricane and infrastructure repairs, including roads, buildings, equipment and water systems. 

“I’m sure we’ll have the money before the next fiscal year,” said Finance Director Cheryl Hannafin. 

Purchasing of city vehicles proposed 

New equipment included for consideration included a Self-contained Breathing Apparatus or SCBA, for the fire department, a new fleet of police vehicles, a double-drum compaction roller and a sanitation truck, among other construction tools. 

The combination of sanitation and police vehicles will cost $2,672,192 and will be leased over a five-year period. Upon approval, the replacement process will become effective immediately.  

“Just a sanitation truck takes about seven to nine months to purchase,” O’Reilly said.

According to O’Reilly, the current vehicles will be sold once they are replaced, and will be leased through Regions Equipment Finance Corporation. 

“What this does is give us a line of credit to purchase our vehicles that are under warranty,” said O’Reilly.

Parking areas to be resurfaced 

Before the end of the fiscal year, the city will begin the milling, resurfacing and re-striping of the Municipal Marina’s south parking area, as well as the Lions Club parking lot, located at 4600 Tifton Dr. S. 

“They’re going to re-plant the fence and it’s going to be leveled,” said Vice Mayor Christine Brown. 

The process will cost $61,745, nearly half of the $150,000 that is in the Marina capital budget. 

According to O’Reilly, this means that the Marina budget will be raised to $211,745. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing the final product,” said Councilmember Daniel Liedtke. 

On Thursday, November 15, at the Gulfport City Council meeting, Cheryl Hannafin was awarded a Certificate of Achievement in Financial Reporting by Councilmember Michael Fridovich, Vice Mayor Christine Brown, Councilmember Paul Ray and Councilmember Daniel Liedtke. “It could not be done without the hardworking team we have that is dedicated to excellence,” Hannafin said.

At the Thursday, November 15 council meeting, Gulfport residents Mark and Sonya Walling were honored as the Gulfport Halloween Decoration winners. The theme of their decorations was the Gulfport Beach Bazaar. Their plaque was presented by Vice Mayor Christine Brown. “Thank you so much for participating,” said Brown.

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