The cities of Bay St. Louis and Waveland took a huge hit from Hurricane Katrina. Portions of each city were almost wiped off the map. So Wednesday evening, leaders of both cities came together to see if they can possibly co-exist as one.
The workshop is considered step one in a long process. They began by discussing each city's comprehensive plans and how things like codes and ordinances could be made uniformed if needed.
"For a contractor that works in Hancock County to have to have three sets of books, three sets of criteria that he goes under. How do I build in Waveland? How do I build in Bay St. Louis? How do I build in the county? I think that's a perfect example of how we can get things on the same page and discuss those," said Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo.
The leaders also discussed the issue of public works, which includes some services the two cities already share.
"Would you be in favor of a feasibility study looking at all issues of the public works in personnel, equipment, to potentially, like you say, contracting out all the public works to a private entity?" asked meeting moderator Chris Schmitt.
"They need to be looked at and if the decision is made that it can provide the better services, then that's what we need to do. I don't think any of them ought to be off limits as far as looking at them. I think anything that we do, any service we provide, any function we have needs to be considered," said Bay St. Louis Mayor Eddie Favre.
Public comments were not heard during the meeting. But leaders did agree to get the ball rolling by requesting a study to be conducted to see the strengths and needs of each city.
Again, this was only step one, and the citizens will ultimately decide if the two cities will become one. Leaders plan to hold other workshops in the near future, including ones that include Hancock County officials.