It is now clear to us that Port Director Jonathan Daniels was not telling a whopper when he said 425 jobs had been created at the Port of Gulfport.
Both the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Mississippi Development Authority agree 326 jobs at the Island View Casino Resort hotel, which sits on property leased from the port, can be counted toward the 1,300 jobs the port needs to create to meet its HUD obligation.
The port agreed to create at least that many jobs in exchange for a $567 million Community Development Block Grant, money the federal government originally wanted Mississippi to spend on housing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
But those hotel jobs, while welcome, were not the jobs we envisioned when then-Gov. Haley Barbour announced the Port of the Future, touted as the largest economic-development project in the history of the state.
We realize much has changed since that pronouncement was made and the port director inherited a project Gov. Phil Bryant said in 2012 was in danger of losing the grant money.
The port project has been downsized since the days when officials said they expected to draw the superships that would soon be going through an enlarged Panama Canal.
And the job numbers have been all over the map since the project’s inception. We would like to know exactly what kind of jobs the port created. We don’t.
We hope in the future, when Daniels speaks about jobs, he goes into the kind of detail that will avoid misunderstandings.
He’s had some successes at the port. And we hope he has many more.
The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.