Residents pleaded with council to take further action against St. Petersburg. However, council responded with a resolve to instead work with St. Petersburg to prevent such events in the future.
“It’s not just. It certainly didn’t do us any favors,” Mayor Sam Henderson said of the incident during heavy rains several weeks ago where the city of St. Petersburg pumped over 15 million gallons of rain-diluted sewage overflow into Clam Bayou, “but in the end it tells me that the only road we’ve got is to try to collaborate with them. This is a city we have to work with on a regular basis. We’ve got to work through the problem and we have to do it in a way that is going to get results.”
The mayor read a letter from St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman which vowed that St. Petersburg would not pump sewage into the waterways in or around the city of Gulfport in any future incident.
A short recess was held after the lengthy public comment, but council reconvened, albeit with a smaller crowd in the gallery with more on the agenda.
The vacant home registry ordinance, led by Vice Mayor Yolanda Roman, was up for vote and was passed four to one, with Councilman Dan Liedtke dissenting.
“My job is to pay attention to the folks who elected me and I’ll continue to do that,” Roman said. “Eight houses or 80 houses, it’s good enough for me. It’s a small step and a small component of what could be bigger process, but I am happy.”
Roman’s next step, she said, is getting the ordinance started and operational. It will be looked into further as the ordinance is in place and will be amended if necessary.
The evening was capped with a short discussion regarding the upcoming budget.
The final documents for the budget are set to be finalized by September 3, and will feature items such as allocations for new alleyways and flood insurance. Possible allocations for a volunteer police group will also be discussed.