Biloxi Mayoral Candidates Square Off On The Radio

The gloves came off when the South Mississippi Speaks radio show concentrated on specific issues related to the city of Biloxi. Issue one dealt with transporation. Democrat Andrew "FoFo" Gilich said Biloxi should be doing more to build roads faster.

"We've just got to take the bull by the horns and go forward," Gilich said. "Every minute that you wait right now, it costs you money."

Holloway countered by saying, "During the time I've been mayor, we have spent over $80 million on rebuilding over 25 streets in the city of Biloxi. I'm talking about rebuilding from the ground up."

When the discussion turned to Biloxi's budget and the $11 million in undesignated money the city has on reserve, incumbent Mayor A.J. Holloway defended his administration's fiscal policy.

"You know, you can't invest city funds just wherever you want to," Holloway said. "It has to be in federally backed money."

Gilich then said, "You can do the same thing the state of Mississippi does everyday." Holloway thought that was an unwise idea. "I don't want to do anything like the state of Mississippi is doing it," the mayor said. "They're in deep trouble right now."

Gilich said the city should do a better job of investing the surplus that he thinks is closer to $13 million.

The mayor said that unlike other agencies, his approach has Biloxi prepared for the next crisis. According to Holloway, "We have a fine, sound financial position in the city of Biloxi. And I wouldn't want to be in the state's shoes, or the city of Gulfport's shoes."

Here was the Gilich response, "What I'm going to say is if you check with folks that know this business and know municipalities, they say this fund balance is excessive."

Holloway and Gilich ended the one hour talk show by disagreeing over the next mayor's salary. They said exactly what they said Wednesday, when Gilich made the mayor's pay raise a campaign issue. Gilich said the next mayor should make $74,000 a year, exactly what the current mayor is making. Holloway said the mayor should get the $95,000 salary approved by the Biloxi City Council.

FoFo Gilich and A.J. Holloway have one other confirmed joint appearance. On June 2, 2001, the Biloxi mayoral candidates will be on Newswatch This Week. They will be joined by independent candidate Jerry Houston Sumrall.  The show airs on WLOX at 6:00 p.m.