Harrison County

Biloxi City Council trims garbage-fee hike, establishes tree committee

TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD/FILE 
 Biloxi trees will now be overseen by a tree committee, whose purpose is to mitigate the effects of development on the city's canopy of Live oaks.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD/FILE Biloxi trees will now be overseen by a tree committee, whose purpose is to mitigate the effects of development on the city's canopy of Live oaks. SUN HERALD

BILOXI -- The City Council voted Tuesday to take a wait-and-see approach to rates rather than followi the administration's recommendations to increase fees from $10 to $16 a month over three years to meet the cost of garbage collection and disposal.

The proposed garbage-rate increase was whittled back from a multi-year rate hike to a more-modest $2.50 increase that will last six months.

The council approved a hike to $12.50 per month from April 1 through Sept. 30 to determine actual expense rather than estimated cost.

"We decided to take a step back to look at it closely and make a good, educated decision," Councilman Kenny Glavan said.

Also Tuesday, the council voted not to create regulations to license and regulate taxis and drivers, but did establish a tree committee.

Mayor FoFo Gilich will appoint seven tree committee members, one from each ward, subject to council approval.

The final regulations fell short of what those who advocate for the city's protected trees had sought -- to be able to stop the removal of protected trees. But it does give the authority much broader duties than originally proposed.

The new committee will be able to review all development plans submitted to the Planning Commission and advise city officials on the removal of any protected tree. It also will identify suitable sites to plant trees when any protected trees are removed, and will oversee a Majestic Program to preserve more of the city's oak trees.

Gulfport Councilman R.Lee Flowers came to Biloxi to encourage the council not to pull out of the Motor Vehicle for Hire Commission, which regulates taxis in Gulfport, Biloxi and D'Iberville.

After more than a year of conversation, the council voted not to take on the permitting of the taxis and drivers or the disputes. The council then tabled for a week a proposal to seek new regulations as a condition for Biloxi staying in the commission.

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