City Leaders Converge On Coast

Economic development is among the topics at this week's Mississippi Municipal League convention. Thousands of city leaders are attending the statewide conference in Biloxi.

In the convention exhibit hall, companies are selling everything from pothole patches to homeland security cameras. Checking out the latest gadgets and services is a favorite activity among the thousands of municipal league members.

A multi camera security system attracts attention at the GE Security booth. Today's emphasis on keeping cities safe means big business for such technology.

"This is something that's very high on the priority list. Especially with the homeland security initiatives. Video surveillance. Digital recording. Access of that information by the Internet, as well as security systems for traditional alarm systems," said security system salesman, Frank Crabb.

Laurel city council member Anne Clayton likes browsing the booths. Unlike some communities... her city's budget is sound.

"Laurel is doing great. Our sales tax had a pretty good increase last month. And we're doing quite well, considering how things are going in the country," said Clayton.

"We're willing to give the city a five year warranty on every patch," explained Jack Wilson, as he touted his company's pothole patch material.

He promises city leaders a better pothole patch and his company offers a guarantee to back up its claims.

"If you can keep water out of a pothole, then you can preserve the asphalt. By putting this material over the top of it, it saves cities half of their municipal pothole patching budget," said Wilson.

Once the potholes are patched, how about a Broce Broome to keep those streets clean? The machines are already at work in several Mississippi cities.

"Make a clean sweep of everything we try to do," said street sweeper salesman, John Morton.

Morton and other exhibitors are looking to "clean up" this week, convincing city leaders to purchase their products and services.