Waveland okays agreement with economic development specialist
By Geoff Belcher
Apr 4, 2014, 20:06
The Waveland Board of Aldermen this week voted to approve a long-delayed agreement with an economic development specialist to help bring new commerce to the city.
"We have been talking about this for months and months and months," Ward One Aldermen Lili Stahler said Tuesday before the vote to approve a contract with Urban Development Toolbox LLC, operated by Laurence Leyens.
Under the terms of the agreement, Leyens will assist with a number of factors to facilitate bringing new business to the city, including future planning, review of zoning laws, assessment of code enforcement, marketing initiatives and the development and adoption of economic development incentives.
Leyens' assistance will cost the city a maximum of $15,000.
The board had previously tabled the agreement at three prior meetings to give aldermen time to consider other options, since the officials from the Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission, Mississippi Power Assoc. and Coast Electric had all offered economic development guidance.
"We need to do something," Ward Four Alderman Mark Kidd said.
Mayor David Garcia told aldermen before the vote that merely accepting the agreement did not automatically mean the city would spend the money.
"This does not obligate us to use his services," Garcia said. "However, if we do not do this ... we will have to go through all this process again.
"Everything we would do would have to come before the board to be approved."
Stahler said $15,000 would be a small price to pay to get new commerce in the city.
"I would hope that he would at least give us some sense of direction," she said.
Stahler and Kidd voted to approve the agreement; Ward Two Alderman Ricky Geoffrey and Ward Three Alderman Shane Lafontaine voted against. Garcia cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the measure.
In other action Tuesday:
• Aldermen voted unanimously to accept a bid from Kearney Breland to be the new website and social media consultant.
• Melinda Tucker, chairwoman of Keep Waveland Beautiful, updated the board on her group's activities, including clean-up and landscaping at several city locations.