Water meter petition gets new signatures

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport residents have until Monday to collect 1500 signatures against installing new water meters in the city. The petition would allow the measure to be placed on this year's election ballot.

Lorraine Santo is a longtime Gulfport resident and community activist. Santo is one of many people who spent her Saturday afternoon going door-to-door collecting signatures. It's all for a petition that would give citizens a say-so when it comes to installing more than nine million-dollars worth of new water meters.

"The reason we are doing this because there's still people without water and sewer and without the proper infrastructure. Water meters are great, but it's the wrong time for them," said Santo.

City administration say that the new high-tech meters willl be good for Gulfport residents. They say the new meters will provide more accurate readings, not to mention they will pay for themselves, but some aren't buying it.

"They keep telling us what the projections are. They projected sales tax, and we are about a million dollars under for last year," said Santo.

The city is requiring 1500 signatures from registered voters, in order for the measure to be put on the June ballot. However, these residents say they are sure they will get far beyond that number.

"The people appreciate you walking because they know you're serious," said Santo.

Prince McNeely is just one of the people supporting the petition.

"I think that we have a lot more important stuff that we need to do first," said McNeely.

The 20 year resident has a laundry list of things he would like to see happen in the city.

"I would like to see them widen Dedeaux Road from Three Rivers Road to Lorraine Road," said McNeely.

He also wants continuous running water in the area and re-paved roads. Joining hundreds of other residents who want city leaders to think twice about installing the new water meters.

Inn addition to going door-to-door, there were also people at local retail stores and the Orange Grove Kids Parade on hand to collect signatures. Organizers say they are well-over the halfway mark and hope to collect the remaining signatures by the end of the weekend.