Harrison County

Biloxi Council vote goes against lease for homeless center

Council members, from right, Felix Gines, Robert Deming III and Dixie Newman hash out the vote after Tuesday's council meeting. The vote was not to lease the former Beauvoir school for now and decide whether to make it a homeless center.
Council members, from right, Felix Gines, Robert Deming III and Dixie Newman hash out the vote after Tuesday's council meeting. The vote was not to lease the former Beauvoir school for now and decide whether to make it a homeless center. meperez@sunherald.com

The city council rejected Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich’s idea of leasing the former Beauvoir school in order to decide whether to open a homeless center and shelter there.

The vote was 3-3 Tuesday, with council members Paul Tisdale, Kenny Glavan and Felix Gines voting for leasing the vacant school for $10 a year while also looking at other potential sites.

Council members Dixie Newman, George Lawrence and Robert Deming III voted against the lease and Councilman David Fayard was absent.

“Failed,” Gines said after the vote, but Deming had another take on the vote.

“It means we didn’t approve this lease,” Deming said. “This lease failed, not the idea.”

Gilich said he wanted to get the property in West Biloxi under contract to make sure the school board doesn’t vote to tear down the buildings.

“All this does is enable a location,” he said. He told the council members no money will be spent unless they approved it.

“I’m not convinced that Beauvoir location is the right location,” said Glavan.

“This to me is not a function of a city,” said Lawrence, who also had concerns about the finances. “Nobody has a clue what this is going to cost.”

“I don’t want to slam the door on the idea,” said Council President Dixie Newman. What she does want is a business proposal on how the center will operate and what it will cost, she said, and that can be done without a lease, she told Gilich.

Also on Tuesday:

▪  Gilich recognized Keesler Air Force Base Commander Col. Michele Edmondson as a “Biloxian For Life.” She will leave this week for her new assignment at the Pentagon.

▪  The council awarded a contract for dredging to remove sediment from Back Bay canals to low bidder J.E. Borries Inc. for $711,463.

▪  Council passed a resolution to hire Swetman Security Service to provide security for Municipal Court of Biloxi.

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