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Connie Moran talks plans, projects during Breakfast With The Mayor

By Warren Kulo | The Mississippi Press | July 10 2013

Mayor Connie Moran Speaks at "Breakfast with the Mayor" July  
 Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran (standing), with aldermen Chic Cody, Bobby Cox and Greg Denyer to her right, speaks during the quarterly "Breakfast With The Mayor" event Wednesday morning. (Warren Kulo/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

OCEAN SPRINGS, Mississippi -- Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran said Wednesday she has been "assured" by officials with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources that the boat storage shed and restaurant building at Ocean Springs Harbor will be torn down.

"That's something we're going to have to look at, addressing the loss of 168 parking spaces down there," Moran said.

The harbor was but one of several topics Moran touched on during the quarterly Breakfast With The Mayor event, sponsored by the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce and hosted this quarter by C.J.'s Seafood House.  

Moran also discussed the oft-discussed city budget. She noted city department heads are already into the process of preparing preliminary budgets for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

She announced the city recently had it's AA bond rating -- the highest available -- renewed and also reiterated the city's desire to provide raises for its employees, a hot-button issue during the recent municipal campaign.

"We want to reward our employees," Moran said.

Moran, accompanied by aldermen Bobby Cox, Chic Cody and Greg Denyer (although they did not speak), also said development of the health care industry in Ocean Springs would be crucial to attracting new business.

She pointed towards the ongoing $17 million expansion of Ocean Springs Hospital as a key and also said the city is working with state officials on establishing a health-care zone in Ocean Springs. Also noted were the city's lack of pediatric and women's care facilities.

"The health care industry is key in attracting other businesses to Ocean Springs," Moran said.

Other subjects Moran discussed were:

  • Annexation: The mayor noted an annexation target area had been identified a few years ago, but the plan was "put on hold" about a year and a half ago, "but it's something that's going to be very important for the city," she said. 
  • Bay Village: The $10 million first phase of the Bay Village mixed-use development project on U.S. 90 should break ground in August, Moran said.
  • New business: Moran said the city is courting a couple of new businesses to locate in Ocean Springs, although she could not elaborate because they are still in negotiations. "We're taking steps to be very competitive in attracting new business," she said.
  • During the Q&A portion of the meeting, Moran said the East Beach ownership case may take "another 18 months" before the state Supreme Court makes its ruling. After the city announced plans to construct a pedestrian walkway along the beach front, two East Beach homeowners -- attorney Buddy Gunn and judge Neil Harris -- filed suit claiming ownership of the sections of the beach adjacent to their homes. A county judge ruled in the homeowners' favor and the case was appealed to the state high court.