The Gulfport city council approved a plan to spend $30 million dollars on its water and sewer systems. Next fall, the city will begin 26 different projects. The work is phase one of a 10 year master plan to improve Gulfport's water and sewer system. Despite pleas from councilmen Billy Hewes and Sam Albritton, the sewer improvements are not at the top of the list. Those two council members argued in vain that Orange Grove should be at the top priority. The Gulfport City council will follow the list of priorities in the order city engineers have laid out.
Ward 6 councilmember Sam Albritton said that when it rains the sewer caps pops and the sewer overflows into ditches.
"The master plan actually in my opinion was futile. It had no purpose. The Orange Grove area is being negleted again with 80 percent of my district without water and sewer."
"It was irrelevant whether we changed the priority or not," said Kim Savant. "The projects that we were addressing in the orange grove area would not have been completed any sooner if we had changed the priority on them."
Several Orange Grove housing developers told the council that under the original priority plan they would not be able to move forward for several years.
Charles Graham, a developer said "They haven't told us a moratorium but the thing they're telling us is you can't build here. We don't know. We've been told by the engineering department it might be 3, 5, 10 years from now.
"When you don't allow development and you are not providing new growth for water and sewer then yes there is a moratorium placed," said Albritton.
The council did pass a motion encouraging the city's engineers to try to work with those developers who already have planning commission approval. However, some of those involved say any future projects east of Highway 49 could run into trouble until the city makes its way down the list to Orange Grove.The first priority will be the removal of existing pump stations that are no longer in use. Second will be to install fire hydrants north of 1nterstate10. Engineering work will begin immediately on the first 12 projects.