Repairs For Moss Point Street Signs Hit Another Roadblock

"There are no street signs in Moss Point to amount to anything," Loretta Jennings said.

For Jennings, bleached stop signs and bare poles are part of her daily drive.

"If I could say anything that the community needs, street signs would be at the top of the list," Jennings said.

Across town, the mangled metal that sits on Barbara Stephanofsky's street frequently confuses drivers. It's hard to read and her street name is spelled wrong, but she's thankful to even have a sign.

"Why? Why are there so many signs missing?"  Stephanofsky said.

Moss Point officials had hoped to replace the signs by the end of 2007, but those plans were unexpectedly stopped last month. Only one company bid on the project, so FEMA demanded the city re-bid the job. If only one company bids again, then the project can proceed.

But there's another dent in Moss Point's attempt to replace these old signs: FEMA says that 200 of the 600 signs in question were damaged before Katrina, so they're ineligible for FEMA funds.

"Two and a half years later you'd think we could have ironed through most of those problems, for something as simple but ever-important as a sign," Jennings said.

Especially if that missing sign could mdirect first responders to an emergency.

"If we have a house on fire, and the fire department has to spend 20 minutes trying to figure out where that house is, that house is gone," said.

Jennings says the worn out signs need to be fixed before the city can move forward.

"We have some issues that need to be addressed, and they're many, but that stop sign issue needs to be immediately addressed," Jennings said.

Mayor Xavier Bishop said the obstacles with FEMA have set the sign project back indefinitely. The re-bidding process will start sometime in 2008, to show it was a competitive process, but Bishop says there is no way to tell how long it could be before residents see new signs in their neighborhoods. He said it is "a waiting game."

As for the 200 signs FEMA is refusing to pay for, Bishop says they will have to be paid for "somehow" by the city.