The City of Gulfport is giving homeowners who want to rebuild a break.
At the first of the year, the city's home building permit fees were the most expensive on the coast. But Tuesday evening, the City Council voted to reduce fees for rebuilding in Gulfport.
"We want to come home. It's an impossible situation with the fees that are that high," said Gulfport resident Joanne Edwards.
Edwards told the Gulfport City Council she's eager to rebuild her home on 2nd Street. But she said she couldn't shell out the thousands of dollars the city was charging her for a building permit. Edwards urged the council to reduce city's fees for rebuilding.
"What I'm asking of you to please consider waiving, or to at least make the fees within my reach."
The City Council cleared the way for Edwards and many others to rebuild, voting unanimously in favor of a $100 flat fee for plan reviews for new home building permits. The new fee will go into effect on June 20. The measure was introduced by Ward 2 Councilwoman Libby Roland.
"It does only apply to people that are rebuilding on property that was owned on August 29 or damaged on August 29," Roland said.
The Mayor and City Council are planning a workshop within the next two weeks. At that time, they'll talk about ways to handle refunds for people who have been issued permits since January 1.
"The city needs to get with the department heads. Don't want to make it any harder on them than it already is. That's why were asking for the 14 days of leeway so that we can figure all of that out."
As for Joanne Edwards, she says she can't wait to move forward and rebuild a home on her 2nd Street lot - a place she's called home for nearly forty years.