The City of Biloxi is in the midst of fielding a bad hop after bids for the new baseball stadium came in $5 million over budget. Three days later, Biloxi city officials are trying to find addition funding.
Biloxi City Council members met discreetly with city administration Friday to educate themselves on possible options to come up with $5 million. It’s down to either cutting stadium costs, or creating funds. One thing is clear though, the project won’t see another penny from the City of Biloxi. George Lawrence, Biloxi City Councilman for Ward 1, says, "It comes down to one thing, we need to find $5 million from somewhere."
Biloxi City Council members strategically met with the C.F.O. of Biloxi, David Nichols, two at a time to go over the baseball stadium bids to try to figure out a way to cut costs or come up with the extra $5 million needed to start construction. Lawrence also says, "I'm not really in favor for chopping up the stadium. I think you need to build a nice stadium if you're gonna’ do it, and if you can’t afford to do it, you either need to create more money, more revenue, or it’s gonna’ be hard to get the thing done."
The city, along with state BP oil money, is contributing $36 million total. According to the new bids, the city will need $41.3 million to complete the project. Biloxi is now looking to its partners for the extra cash. Nichols says, "It's gonna’ take both the city, the Beau Rivage, the team, whoever is awarded the contract, it’s gonna’ take everybody coming together, and everybody has gotta’ give some to get a good product and get out there to play ball."
In order to protect the tax payers’ dollars, both Lawrence and Paul Tisdale, Biloxi City Councilman for Ward 5, agree, the city will not pay another dime over the $21 million they already have invested in this stadium project. Tisdale says, "This, first thing I wanna’ make clear is the City of Biloxi is putting up $21 million for this project and that’s all I think we should put up and I know Councilman Lawrence said the same thing."
Now that everyone has been informed of the contractual options, the officials hope to hold an open meeting all together next week to come up with a permanent solution. Not mentioned publicly was the option of asking Harrison County to help foot the bill.
People News 25 spoke to say that so far, the county has not contributed to the project. It’s expected council will reach out to Supervisor Windy Swetman early next week.