Ocean Springs Awarded $392,200 USDA Grant

The City of Ocean Springs was recently awarded three grants totaling $392,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The funds will purchase emergency management equipment.

Mayor Connie Moran was pleased to receive the good news.

"The items approved for purchase will be used by our public safety officers and greatly assist us, especially if another natural disaster should come our way," she said.

The Emergency Operations Department will order a portable lighting unit, generators, and audio/visual equipment that will be useful in a future catastrophe.

A small electric car designated to City Hall will also be of use in any situation in which gas is scarce and the streets difficult to navigate.

The Fire Department will buy extra chain saws, an industrial winch, and hazardous materials response gear.

The Public Works Department will acquire a John Deere Model Z lawn mower and a 24 cubic-yard debris truck.  At $77,000, the debris truck is by far the largest ticket item on the grant list.

Andre Kaufman, Director of Public Works, says the truck will greatly increase the speed at which the City removes debris from curbside.

"We place a great emphasis on keeping our City clean.  This will improve our efficiency in that task," Kaufman said.

The final beneficiary of the grant is the Planning and Community Development Department, which will be obtaining a large cache of much needed office equipment such as cabinets, desks, and work tables, all specially designed for working with maps and charts. Additional equipment includes a heavy-duty photocopier, printer, large scanner, additional computers, digital cameras, and a 25-inch monitor designed for working with maps.

The other USDA grants that the City requested are related to Community Facility repairs.  Allocation notices are expected for this funding in the near future.