LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Before the end of 2017, Long Beach will have a new mayor.
Three-term incumbent Billy Skellie isn't seeking reelection, opening the door for one of five candidates running for the office. The mayoral candidates on the ballot include retired Long Beach Fire Chief George Bass, Alderman at large Leonard Carrubba, Alderman Ronnie Hammons Jr., Kevin Nelson, and Alderman Gary Ponthieux.
Around town, residents like Charles Molesworth say they enjoy the charm of the city, but want to see it grow.
"This small town can still keep a small town feel, but still be very business friendly," said Molesworth.
During a debate in front of a large crowd on the USM Gulf Park Campus Thursday night, all the candidates shared their agreement with Molesworth and their plans to bring in new development.
Long Beach resident Whitney Sartin has an idea to bring in money.
"I would like to have some casinos," Sartin said.
All the candidates weighed in on the possibility of a casino - which voters rejected in the 90s - in the Friendly City. Another hot topic of conversation during the debate was how to lower property taxes.
Lynda Giuffria qualified to run, but did not take part in the debate.