Harrison County

Biloxi ready to spend money in Woolmarket

Biloxi firefighters hose down the smoldering remains of a home in Woolmarket in October 2015. The city wants to build new fire stations in North Biloxi and Woolmarket without a tax increase.
Biloxi firefighters hose down the smoldering remains of a home in Woolmarket in October 2015. The city wants to build new fire stations in North Biloxi and Woolmarket without a tax increase.

Plans to build new fire stations in Ward 6 in North Biloxi and Ward 7 in Woolmarket are on Tuesday’s City Council agenda.

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich and the council discussed the need for new stations during this year’s budget meetings. The council recently approved buying a trailer to temporarily house the station in North Biloxi because the trailer that’s been in use since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was in poor condition.

Through an agreement with South Mississippi Planning and Development District, Gilich proposes a lease-purchase similar to what was used to build a fire station in D’Iberville.

The new station in Ward 6 would be built on city property at Popp’s Ferry Road just east of Cedar Lake Road and would provide a fire command headquarters north of Back Bay.

The Woolmarket station would be built off Old Highway 67 east of Cedar Lake Road and Hudson-Krohn Road.

“Right now, we have an 8- to 10-minute response time for outlying areas of the city,” Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney said. “These two stations will allow us to reduce that response time in half.”

Boney said time is critical because a fire will double in size every three to five minutes, and two-thirds of the departments calls are medical calls, where he said every minute counts.

The new stations should improve Biloxi’s fire rating, already one of the best in the state, which means lower fire insurance premiums.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda is a $7 million bond issue to fund water, sewer and drainage improvements in Woolmarket that have been promised to residents and businesses in that area for years.

“We’ve worked to pay down our city debt, so we would be in a position to make these moves,” Gilich said.

The new stations and bond issue come without a tax increase, he said, and the partnership with SMPD is expected to save the city in financing and construction costs.

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