UPDATE: Waveland approves anti-discrimination measure supporting LGBT community
By Echo Staff
May 23, 2014, 20:03
The Waveland Board of Aldermen on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve an LGBT-led non-discrimination policy, making the "Hospitality City," only the second on the Coast to do so.
The Bay St. Louis City Council drafted a similar resolution earlier this month.
The Waveland resolution states that the city is opposed to and will not accept discrimination of any type.
"The mayor and board of aldermen declare it the policy of the city of Waveland to reject discrimination of any kind and to respect the inherent worth of every person without regards to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity and expression, age, marital status, sexual-orientation, family status, veteran status, disability, or source of income," the resolution said.
“This is another important step forward to ensure that all Mississippians are treated equally and with respect and dignity,” Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin, a native of Arkansas, said in a press release issued Thursday.
“The approved action is important for the people of Waveland," Mayor David Garcia said. "This sends a strong message throughout Mississippi that LGBT citizens are welcome in our fantastic city."
"The city doesn't discriminate against anyone," Garcia said Friday. "We welcome everyone to come to Waveland, live in Waveland, shop in Waveland. I hope no one is being treated differently in Waveland based on their race, gender or sexual orientation. I feel by the pasage of this resolution, we're saying we don't judge anybody – everyone is welcome in Waveland."
In other action Wednesday:
• Ward 1 Aldermen gave an empassioned speech to fellow board members asking them to consider Waveland's economic future.
"In February we had a presentation from Ashley Edwards (executive director of the Hancock Port & Harbor Commission) on the subject of economic development," Stahler said. "Laurence Leyens has been to our meetings a couple of times and we finally approved a contract with him, but have not given him a task. It is my opinion that we should have a workshop with or without Mr. Leyens and formulate an economic development plan. I don’t mean a 20-year plan, or a city comprehensive pan, I mean an immediate plan as to what do we want to see in the way of growth and how we can make it happen.
"For the first seven months of Fiscal Year 2013/2014, sales tax revenues are down $46,626. Down is not the direction we want to see."
• Kathy Walker and Rodney Davis, representatives from Delta Water – with which the city contracted to audit and upgrade its water meter system – gave aldermen a comprehensive report on their findings so far. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the city of Waveland has been charging most customers a basic rate because many of the city's water meters were damaged or destroyed or covered up. Walker said the company has repaired more than 400 meters and recorded GPS readings on all but 44 of them. Basically, she said, through the work done, the city will be able to recoup an addition $95,000 a year through the repaired meters.
What we're trying to do is lower our rates," Garcia said. "If we can get our operational costs coming in based on the fact we're not flat-rating, we should be able to bring down our individual water bills."
Garcia said the city will monitor the situation for a month or two to get averages before making any changes.