HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It's budget time for Harrison County, and among the budgets getting reviewed and approved by county supervisors is the spending plan for the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.
For the first time in its 39-year history, the Coliseum is no longer under the oversight of the State of Mississippi. That oversight now belongs to Harrison County. Executive Director of the Coliseum, Matt McDonnell, made that point clear when he appeared before county supervisors on Tuesday, calling it a "new era" for the facility, one he thinks will be for the best.
"We welcome this move," said McDonnell. "We think it's going to be a positive change for us because it has local people that understand what we do, why we do it, and what the impact is on the folks here in South Mississippi."
McDonnell took over as Executive Director last summer after the retirement of longtime director, Bill Holmes. McDonnell said the transition was smooth and his first year was a good one.
"It was actually the best year we've had since Hurricane Katrina. Our revenues were up, our expenses were down, and we were able to put right at a million dollars to the bottom line," said McDonnell.
McDonnell told supervisors he's proud of the fact that the Coliseum and Convention Center must make it on its own. It does not receive any direct operating subsidies from either the state or the county.