HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Friday morning, the Harrison County Utility Authority met to figure out how to deal with its rogue city, Gulfport.
The city voted Thursday to break from the Harrison County contract and pursue its own agreement to continue with Waste Pro services.
It was a long, contentious meeting, but in the end, the Harrison County Utility Authority decided to hold off voting on whether or not Gulfport can leave the authority.
Members of the board were concerned that they did not have enough time to digest Gulfport's new contract with Waste Pro.
"It's the unknown. We have 64 days before Oct. 1 when this new contract will come in, so we called this meeting here to find out, and it did some good, because they met yesterday, and they've got a contract that these two attorneys can look at now. Then, maybe we can all go our separate ways," said Pass Christian Mayor Chipper McDermott, president of HCUA.
Utility authority attorney Jim Simpson described it as a tenant/landlord situation. Although the county could lose money, the board could let Gulfport out if it wanted to.
There was a lot to discuss, but the highlight was concerns whether Gulfport would meet its obligation to Team Waste to dump debris at its site. That was the basis for Team Waste's lawsuit filed this week against Gulfport and the utility authority.
However, Mayor Billy Hewes said they would meet the amount of tonnage required under the 10-year contract signed by the utility.
There was also concern that Simpson could not adequately represent the utility authority because of conflicts with Gulfport.
The utility board gave Gulfport until next Thursday to identify issues so that its departure from the board would not harm Harrison County.
"I don't think we're that far apart on some of the concerns that were raised today, as far as some of the differences. But in any case, I think there are good contracts on both sides," said Hewes. "I think we're both headed in a proper direction, and I hope that will be the understanding we reach next week and beyond."