Diamondhead votes to support casino projects
By Dwayne Bremer
Dec 6, 2013, 21:40
An artistís conception of the proposed Jacobs Entertainment Group casino complex
The Diamondhead City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution supporting economic development projects, including two proposed casinos south of Interstate 10.
The resolution stated, in part, that the mayor and city council are in initial support of the Diamondhead Casino Corp. and Jacobs Entertainment projects.
Mayor Tommy Schafer said Friday that the resolution is not a final vote on either project.
"The resolution encourages developers to take the initial steps in development," Schafer said. "The first step is applying to the gaming commission."
Schafer said specific site plans for any projects will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
The resolution is a potentially important step for Jacobs.
Last month, the group received a resolution from the Hancock County Board of Supervisors supporting its project.
Jacobs was supposed to appear before the gaming commission in October; however, it later asked to withdraw its application.
Company officials said last month they were trying to rally public support for the project first and they make a presentation to the gaming commission at a later date.
Diamondhead Casino Corp. has tossed around the idea of a casino on land it owns for more than a decade.
The group owns about 400 acres of land south and east of Exit 16.
*In other business Tuesday, the council approved Kristin Ventura as the new city clerk.
Ventura, 36, is a USM grad who has spent the past year as the city's comptroller.
Diamondhead has been without a city clerk since September, when Sue Foster abruptly resigned.
City Manager Richard Rose said Tuesday that the city interviewed several candidates, but decided on hiring in-house.
"I think Kristen is very capable of performing the city clerk duties," Rose said. "She is practically doing it all right now."
The city clerk's duties include, among other things, overseeing much of the city's paperwork, payroll, and elections.
In addition to hiring a new clerk, Rose said the city is also looking to hire a minutes clerk.
"We are trying to mainstream our operations," he said. "Our objective is to have greater functionality."
Promoting Ventura will allow the city to combine the comptroller and clerk's position and save money, Rose said.
Rose said the city is currently taking applications for the minutes clerk position and should hire one in January.
The council also approved, in principal, a new two-year agreement with the Hancock County Sheriff's Office for law enforcement services.
Schafer said the final contract has yet to be submitted to the city, but he believes it will be similar to the previous one.
The city's current contract with the sheriff's office expires at the end of the year.
Under the deal, Diamondhead will pay for nine full-time officers and a supervisor.
The city owns its police cars and equipment and the sheriff provides manpower and other services.