D'lberville will let feds decide ward lines

Sun Herald (Biloxi, MS) - Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Author: MARY PEREZ, meperez@sunherald.com
D'IBERVILLE -- The mayor and city council are at a stalemate on redrawing ward lines and will leave it to the federal government to decide. 

"I guess you've got to call the Justice Department," Mayor Rusty Quave said Tuesday after the council again was split 3-3 on a plan. Quave, Stephen Furney and Joey Bosarge voted for redistricting map 3. Henry Toncrey, Teddy Harder and Brenda Broussard voted against it. 

Bosarge said the city hired a consultant a year ago to come up with maps to evenly divide the wards according to 2010 Census figures. Maps 2 and 3 were nearly the same, with changes to wards 1 and 2. 

Bosarge said, "I feel this process was manipulated," but wouldn't comment further. 

It was a contentious meeting even before this vote, with residents of Woodridge Estates trailer park filling one side of the council room and residents in the area where a casino is proposed the other side. 

The trailer park residents went first, asking the city to help get them more than the 30 days they were given to move their trailers out of Woodridge Estates off D'Iberville Boulevard and Cassimer Avenue. 

Ann Chinn, one of the residents, said the property was sold July 6 to Grayco of D'Iberville LLC. Grayco is owned by Robert Mandal and she said, "Mr. Mandal can't be reached by any of us." 

D'Iberville attorney W. Fred Hornsby III said the city can't stop the property owners from ordering the residents to leave. "Maybe there can be some extensions," he said. 

When the meeting switched to concerns of residents living in the area where a casino is proposed, Hornsby said portions of Racetrack, Church and St. Charles streets have to be vacated by the city before the site plan for a casino in that area can be approved. 

Ashley Hendren, an attorney for residents Mike and Brandy Moore, said the city can make vacating the roads conditional on the casino developer widening and improving Desporte Avenue, which will provide access to homes and businesses when the other three roads are closed. 

"I'm telling you no," said Hornsby. He said it could cause a major problem with finalizing the project. 

The council tabled action and said a special meeting will be scheduled to show residents what roads will be vacated and how Desporte will be improved.