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Biloxi, Mississippi

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Biloxi is a city in Harrison County, Mississippi, Mississippi. The 2000 United States Census recorded the population as 50,644, although the 2008 Census Estimate placed the population at 45,670. Along with Gulfport, Biloxi is a county seat of Harrison County.

The city is part of the Gulfport-Biloxi metropolitan area and the Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Mississippi Combined Statistical Area. Pre-Hurricane Katrina, Biloxi was the third largest city in Mississippi; but with its population losses following that storm, Hattiesburg now has that distinction.

Website evaluation

Main article: Evaluation of Mississippi city websites

Last rated on September 4, 2012.

The good

  • Budget
    • Current budget is posted.[1]
  • Meetings
    • Current City Council agendas[2] and past meeting minutes[3] are posted.
  • Elected Officials
    • City Council members are listed with individual contact information.[4]
  • Administrative Officials
    • Contact information for officials is posted on department pages.
  • Building Permits and Zoning
    • Building permits and zoning information is posted.[5][6]
  • Audits
    • Audits are posted.[7]
  • Public Records
    • Public records request form is provided.[8]

The bad

  • Budget
    • Previous budgets are not posted.
  • Meetings
    • Previous meeting agendas are not provided.
  • Contracts
    • No information regarding bids or contracts.
  • Lobbying
    • No information regarding lobbying.
  • Local Taxes
    • Tax information is not provided.

Elected Officials

The City of Biloxi operates under a Mayor-Council form of government. The Mayor is elected citywide, and seven council members representing individual wards are elected every four years. The council has scheduled meetings on the first, third and fourth Tuesday of each month at City Hall, 140 Lameuse Street.[4]

The current mayor is A.J. Holloway.[9] Current members of the City Council can be found on the city website here.

A list of recent major projects with financial information is posted.[10]

Administration

The Department of Administration, which is headed by the Director of Administration, is responsible for overseeing the divisions of Purchasing, Human Resources, Finance, Voter Registration, Information Systems and Contracts/Capital Projects Management. David Staehling is the current Director of Administration.[11]

Additionally, the Director of Administration is responsible for assisting the mayor in overseeing the day-to-day operations of city government, and carrying out policies established by the City Council.[11]

The mayor's office also includes the Administrative Assistant/Municipal Clerk, who oversees the mayor's staff; Public Affairs Manager; and Special Events. The Department of Administration is in City Hall and the City Hall annex.[11]

Budget

Summary of Departmental Expenditure Budgets, FY 2010-11:[12]

Department Budget
FY 09-10
Budget
FY 10-11
Increase
(Decrease)
Administration $3,404,961 $2,957,332 (447,629)
Executive $412,236 $320,934 (91,302)
Legislative $751,723 $694,392 (57,331)
Legal $708,790 $650,001 (58,789)
Judicial $161,854 $161,916 62
Community Development $4,830,648 $3,438,534 (1,392,114)
Parks & Recreation $6,298,703 $5,211,296 (1,087,406)
Police $19,244,768 $16,095,810 (3,148,958)
Fire $14,569,529 $12,978,208 (1,591,321)
Public Works $13,487,867 $11,013,968 (2,473,899)
TOTAL GENERAL
FUND EXPENDITURES
$63,871,080 $53,522,391 (10,348,688)
Water and Sewer Fund $13,371,599 $13,370,242 (1,357)
Port Enterprise Fund $1,979,436 $1,329,361 (650,075)
TOTAL ALL FUNDS $79,222,114 $68,221,994 (11,000,120)

Emergency Services

Fire Department

For the first 180 years of the existence of Biloxi, its fire protection is believed to be much like that of any other small town. Each household, either voluntarily or by city ordinance, owned a fire bucket. When an alarm of fire was sounded, these buckets were collected and used by all able-bodied citizens.[13]

The Biloxi Fire Department was formally organized in 1904 and consisted of paid and volunteer firefighters, remaining this way until the early 1950s, when the department became a fully paid, career department. Today, the Biloxi Fire Department is a professional, paid department consisting of 180 total line firefighters and staff members. They operate out of nine firehouses with the following apparatus: nine engine companies, three ladder companies, three tankers, two command vehicles, a heavy rescue vehicle, a fire boat, one air/light vehicle, one support service vehicle, two reserve engines, one fire investigations unit and numerous staff vehicles.[13]

The Department serves more than 50,000 citizens living in an area of about 61-square miles. Under the current direction of Fire Director David Roberts, the Biloxi Fire Department serves a diverse community consisting of a large area of residential multi-unit dwellings with a significant tourist industry that includes nine casino resorts.[13]

In addition to standard firefighting duties, the department also performs medical and high angle rescue calls as well as other specialized services. They have an average response time of four minutes. All Biloxi firefighters receive medical training and, at a minimum, are First Responder certified. The BFD is progressive in its efforts to provide continuous training to its members and recently added wild land firefighting because of the annexation of 34-square miles of predominantly rural area.[13]

Police Department

The Biloxi Police Department is under the leadership of Director John Miller. As of April 2008, the department has 130 sworn officers and 76 full- or part-time civilians, as well as 250 vehicles and over $25 million of inventory. The department’s annual budget tops $20 million dollars.[14]

The department provides a wide array of services to the community, including patrol operations, criminal investigations, crime scene processing, search and rescue operations, special narcotics enforcement teams and canine support.[14]

The Biloxi Police Department hosts the only fully staffed, trained and equipped bomb squad in south Mississippi. Every year, this multi-million-dollar team responds to more than 24 calls for service in the lower six counties of the state.[14]

The Biloxi Police Department structure includes divisions for Patrol Operations, Criminal Investigations and Administrative Services. The department operates out of the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center, a structure that was built in 2000 at a cost of $9.1 million and offering 66,000-square feet of space. It is located at 170 Porter Ave., two blocks off U.S. 90, north of the Biloxi Lighthouse.[14]

Citizen calls for assistance are processed in the $1 million Communications Center on Popp's Ferry Road, which is equipped with 911, TDD, and language capabilities to better serve all members of the community. The Communications Center received more than 28,000 calls for assistance in 2007 and was on a similar pace for 2008, which is the latest information posted.[14]

External links


References