D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - D'Iberville's first ever state-of-the-city address came with some good economic news.
While many cities across the country are struggling to balance their budgets, Mayor Rusty Quave says D'Iberville is in excellent financial shape. The mayor says D'Iberville is reaping the benefits of deciding to invest more in its city employees.
Twenty-three officers in the recently formed police department account for most of D'Iberville's recent new hires, but not all. The mayor says right now D'Iberville has 122 city employees compared to 55 workers four years ago.
"We're very proud of the professional people that we have running our department heads, from the administrator on down," said Mayor Quave.
D'Iberville, which incorporated in 1988, is a still a young city. City officials say they've tried to recruit and retain highly skilled, experienced workers by raising salaries and using other incentives.
City Manager Richard Rose said, "We will continue to have training programs for our employees and continue to enlarge each department as they are needed."
D'Iberville officials say a larger, more competent city staff is part of the reason so many retailers have set up shop in D'Iberville.
"When you're talking to developers, they have professional plans out there," Mayor Quave said. "You have a qualified engineer looking right back at them and telling them what they can and cannot do, researching plans and property setbacks. It gives them the professionalism to go ahead and go forward with their project. And know they don't have any problems to look forward to in the future."
Mayor Quave says with an $18 million dollar budget, the city is in good financial shape and has a bright economic forecast.
"Financially, the city of D'Iberville is doing unbelievable," said Mayor Quave. "We were very heavily damaged on the water front, but our retail outlets remained open. That tax base has carried us through to where we are today."
"With the new developments on the retail side that's coming in, it's just going to increase our tax base so we can give better services, better sports and senior citizen activities in our community," Mayor Quave said.
Thursday's state of the city address also gave D'Iberville residents an update on the city's annexation battle with Biloxi.
"The annexation trial begins May 14 at Biloxi city court. So that trial is expected to last about two and a half weeks, hopefully no longer," said Rose. "If we win the entire area that we are trying to annex, it will bring the city's total land mass from 7.1 square miles to 18. "
Rose said D'Iberville is already providing water and sewer to most of the area the city wants to annex.