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Biloxi City Council to Discuss Port Funding Controversy at Tuesday's Meeting
Keith Burton - GCN    12/14/07

The Biloxi City Council on Tuesday will step into the ongoing fray over the state using $600 million of Katrina recovery money to upgrade the state port in Gulfport. The council will consider asking the Mississippi Development Authority to delay allocating funds for the restoration of the State Port at Gulfport until post-Katrina housing issues are resolved.

The resolution, which will be introduced by Councilman Bill Stallworth, also asks that any unspent state homeowners grant funds be used for new and existing housing programs. Housing proponents say the money would be better used as Congress intended, to fund housing for lower and moderate income residents who lost homes as a result of Katrina.

Many of the homes lost during the hurricane were modest homes, including rental homes and apartments, that have not be replaced since the hurricane blew them away on August 29, 2005. The loss of thousands of these homes have left the area with a severe housing shortage, especially for the elderly and working-class citizens.

The councilís meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Gov. Haley Barbour has consistently said that funding for the restoration of the State Port at Gulfport had been in the stateís Katrina recovery plan since its inception. However, funding at $600 million is considered by critics to be excessive. The port didn't suffer losses of that amount and using the funds in that manner represents a substantial improvement of the port over its pre-Katrina condition.

To read the complete Biloxi City Council agenda and available resolutions, click here.

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