Lighting Debate Ignites Fireworks Between OS Mayor & County Supervisors - - The News for South Mississippi

Lighting Debate Ignites Fireworks Between OS Mayor & County Supervisors

There were plenty of fireworks at Monday's Board of Supervisors meeting in Jackson County.

Board members discussed a plan to fix the lights on Ocean Springs' Front Beach. The 27 beach front lights were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Federal money is expected to eventually pay for replacement lighting.

But Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran told the supervisors she worked out a deal with Mississippi Power to get temporary lights in place for the annual Fourth of July fireworks display.

"This is a temporary fix. Mississippi Power has come with the solution, it is cost effective and we will be able to have our Fourth of July fireworks celebrations," Moran told board members.

The discussion quickly turned into a turf battle. The supervisors say it's just another example of Moran leaving them in the dark.

"We continue to have problems with things that are the responsibility of this board - the inner harbor, be it the sand beach. This board has been totally left out of any and all discussions," Supervisor Frank Leach said.

Mayor Moran says she has never tried to cut them out of the decision making process.

"Our project was really focusing on the north side of the street. They really were not involved until we looked at the solution of bringing the poles to the sand, and that's when we immediately contacted them," Moran said.

"I do not believe that you show up at the 11th hour of the last minute, when things are being planned, and throw something in our lap and ask us to sign off on it," Leach told Moran.

After the fireworks faded, supervisors did sign off on the project and pledged to work better together in the future.

"My job is to be a public servant and I am going to serve the people," Leach said.

"At the end of the day, we're about results about for our citizens, not egos," Moran said.

Ocean Springs must still get permission from the Secretary of State and the Department of Marine Resources to move forward with the project. Mississippi Power says the temporary lighting will cost more than $70,000.

by Patrice Clark

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