Biloxi wants its 'fair share' of tidelands money - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi wants its 'fair share' of tidelands money

Biloxi generates about 84 percent of the money in the state's Tideland's Fund, but gets back just seven percent for projects in the city. The administration would like to see a more equitable distribution. (Photo source: WLOX) Biloxi generates about 84 percent of the money in the state's Tideland's Fund, but gets back just seven percent for projects in the city. The administration would like to see a more equitable distribution. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Casinos and other industries on the coast have tideland leases with the state. Mississippi collects that money through the Secretary of State's office.

Every year Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann brings a big tidelands check to the coast. The Department of Marine Resources then starts the process of determining how that money is spent.

"Each year we invite local communities to submit tideland requests. It's a grant program. We review them and score each project then give them to the legislature," DMR Director Jamie Miller explained.

Most of the money is collected from casino properties. Biloxi has eight of the coast's 12 casinos and consequently contributes a lion's share to the fund. Biloxi generates about 84 percent of the money and gets back just seven percent for projects in the city. The administration would like to see a more equitable distribution.

"Mayor Gilich wants to take another look at the tidelands to review how we're doing this. He thinks it's disproportionate and Biloxi should be getting more of our fair share," said Public Information Manager Vincent Creel.

Biloxi is working on an ambitious strategic plan to create business, entertainment and recreational activity along the waterfront. The city will get more aggressive submitting requests in accordance with a strategic plan and consistent with tideland criteria. That means stepping up the lobbying effort on behalf of Biloxi's interests.

"We have to talk to the Governor, Secretary of State, legislators and every department involved to bring our vision to reality," said Biloxi Mayor Fo Fo Gilich.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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