Gautier considers borrowing $7 million - - The News for South Mississippi

Gautier considers borrowing $7 million


By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) – Parker Gooden says the bumpy road by his house is a problem that just won't go away.

"It needs to be resurfaced," said Gooden.  "The city comes and patches it up every time a good rain comes, then the next rain blows it back out."

Faulty road repairs are just some of the many projects Gautier leaders hope to tackle with help from a $7 million bond.  Mayor Tommy Fortenberry said that loan would go a long way in Gautier, and would purchase a lot of pavement now, while asphalt prices are low. 

He also wants the bond to help finance improvements to the city drinking water, which many people say currently has a brown tint.  It would also purchase a new public safety building, a fire station on Hwy 57, and would allow the city to match MDOT grant funds to widen Martin Bluff Road into four lanes.

"If we don't move on this, we're going to lose more than $5 million of grant money," said Fortenberry.

But Fortenberry said the work won't come free.  He estimates the city's loan will cost taxpayers an additional $5 or $6 per month, for a home valued at $100,000.

The citizens who spoke to WLOX said they're willing to pay it.

"If the city needs to extra revenue then they need it," said Rodney Gaudet.  "And I think people can squeeze out a few extra dollars to you know, help their city improve."

"I think the citizens of Gautier would be willing to raise taxes in order to get better service," said Gooden.  "I think everybody would go along with it."

The city council has not yet voted on the bond issue.  Fortenberry provided this preliminary breakdown for the estimated use of the funds if they are approved.

  • $1.7 million - Martin Bluff Road expansion
  • $1 million - Hwy 57 Fire Department
  • $1.5 million - Street resurfacing
  • $1.2 million - Water clarification
  • $1.6 million - Public safety and public works building improvements

Fortenberry said the city has incurred very little debt over the years, and he's confident Gautier could absorb the new debt easily.

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