BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - We've come a long way since Hurricane Katrina, and we still have a long way to go. Those were the words of Harrison County Board of Supervisors President Kent Jones.
It was part of his state of the county address Tuesday morning. Jones talked a lot about money today.
"Our revenue is approximately $112 million. We have over 60 departments. 61 percent of our revenue comes from taxes, ad valorem and such," Jones explained.
Jones also talked about public safety.
"We have 14 fire stations. We're continuing to work on lowering the fire rating in our communities, which will help homeowners lower their fire insurance rates."
The Port of Gulfport plays a prominent role in the success of the county.
"We have Seaman Composites that's up and running. That's a global technology leader expanding operations and investing about $4.6 million and creating 40 jobs," Jones told the crowd.
He added a large medical complex at Tradition is a key addition for the future.
"A healthy county is a happy county. So, we have the creation of the Tradition Learning Medical Center Complex that's 158 acres of a medical learning city."
One county facility is a huge money maker.
"As far as the Harrison County Fairgrounds goes, we have over 640 acres at the fairgrounds. We have a covered arena that's 32,500-square feet," Jones said.
Perhaps the biggest asset is the 26 miles of sand beach that will soon receive a makeover.
"It's a little over six miles, which will be about 300,000-cubic yards of sand that we'll be replacing, and that will cost about $4.5 million."
Despite all the facts and figures handed out by the board president, perhaps the most telling moment came when he remembered something that happened here 12 years ago, the day Katrina struck.
"When you're going through things, you have to look for that shining light. There is always chaos and disorder, and you have to look up and just realize that you're not in this by yourself. That's the way I felt at the time," said Jones.
The Katrina reference is most fitting as we now try and help our neighbors in Texas.
Tuesday's event was sponsored by the Coast Chamber of Commerce, and about 300 people attended.