State of the City: McDermott says Pass Christian on ‘upward trend’
By Dwayne Bremer
Feb 5, 2013, 19:04
Pass Christian Mayor Leo "Chipper" McDermott used Tuesday's Breakfast With The Mayor event to deliver his annual state of the city speech along with launching his bid for re-election.
The event was hosted by the Pass Chamber of Commerce and held at the Pass Isles Golf Course.
McDermott said fiscal responsibility and tourism are the keys to keep moving the city forward.
"We are on an upward trend," McDermott said. "We have an old and classy town that people love. We are going to have challenges for the rest of our life, but that's just nature."
In the past year, Pass Christian has seen a $45,000 increase in sales tax revenue, a figure that city leaders hope will continue to rise. The $33 million harbor expansion project will increase revenues, if the city can attract commercial development to complement it, he said.
"Harbors themselves don't make money," McDermott said. "You are lucky if they break even. Getting commercial development is critical. Water sells. It is our best asset, but also our greatest liability."
One item which McDermott said he will work hard on will be getting a new hotel in Pass Christian.
"If you send me back for four more years, I'll put a hotel in this town," McDermott said. "It's not a done deal, but it's very very close. It's no longer about finance, it's about government."
The mayor said residents should begin seeing road and recreation projects completed soon along with new infrastructure coming on line.
He said the biggest challenge to completing the city's rebuilding efforts is financing.
McDermott said the city currently levies 48.46 mils, three mils shy of the 52.15 mils it charged prior to Hurricane Katrina.
As he wrapped up his speech, McDermott encouraged the audience to get involved in the political system.
"I encourage anyone to run for office," he said. "I want to be transparent. I welcome anyone who wishes to run against me or for any position."