Biloxi considers ordinance to control future special events

The ordinance also would lay the groundwork for event organizers to coordinate with the City of Biloxi to host the event.
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 10:16 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Biloxi City Council held a workshop for a proposed ordinance that would crack down on currently unregulated special events. City leaders discussed the issue with special event organizers who attended the meeting.

“I think we’re making progress. There have been some revisions since the first reading a couple weeks ago. More ideas were brought out today. I think everyone wants to work together to achieve a good result,” said Cruisin’ the Coast executive director Woody Bailey.

The ordinance would put requirements for insurance, bond and logistical coordination for special events. Bailey supports some of the measures but has concerns.

“One of the things that concerns me is what will happen if someone has an idea for a new event if they’ll come up against all that’s required in this ordinance,” he said. “It may deter someone from having an event. There’s requirement of a bond. Bonding is very difficult to achieve in this insurance climate we’re in now, so that’s an issue. The reporting requirements, all the meetings, and we’d have more work to do to prepare for the event each year. We’re willing to do that if we need to.”

“I think it’s those fine points that have some of these organizations concerned,” said Biloxi Ward Five council member Paul Tisdale. “And these are the responsible organizations. They work with the city, they work with the police department. We want this to be successful, but we’re all doing our best to thread that needle.”

Council members also heard from Biloxi Police Chief John Miller. In 2017, he proposed a similar ordinance but it was tabled by the city council and never discussed further.

“We proposed an ordinance then that we could’ve worked with that probably needed some work, but we didn’t get an opportunity to do any modifications because it was basically rejected and turned down,” he said.

These talks are sparked by the violence and chaos of Black Beach Spring Break. Chief Miller told WLOX News the problem goes beyond that event.

“What I tried to explain to them is we can’t gear everything just toward spring break,” he said. “You don’t know what kind of event is coming.”

The ordinance also would lay the groundwork for event organizers to coordinate with the City of Biloxi to host the event. Right now, there is no clear outline for how that should happen. The new regulation aims to change that.  

“It’s unfair for a promoter to come to Biloxi and run from department to department to try and determine what they need to put on an event,” Miller said. “We think the events ordinance is clear, it lays it out, here’s what you need to do, here’s what’s expected from you.”

The city is looking at other municipalities that ran into similar Spring Break issues for how to handle this ordinance. Panama City Beach, Fla., is one example.

Next, city council members will set a date for a second workshop as the ordinance undergoes revision.

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