South Mississippi governments are buying heavy equipment, boats and booms, and paying employees overtime using $25 million BP gave the state for Coast cities’ oil-protection measures, but most of that original amount has already been allocated.
About $24 million has already been budgeted, according to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, which oversees the grant program.
Attorney General Jim Hood has offered to make a pitch to BP on local governments’ behalf as needed to get funding for projects not covered by the $25 million. There has also been talk of more BP funding being made available.
Pass Christian Mayor Chipper McDermott said his city wants to get fencing to protect waterways near the Timber Ridge area and the northern parts of town, but those protective measures have to be approved by the Unified Command in Mobile, which greatly slows the process.
McDermott also said almost every expense has to be approved beforehand because a city could be on the hook for the cost if a grant isn’t approved. Many Coast cities faced tight budgets before the oil came ashore.
“We want to make sure we don’t bite off something we can’t eat,” McDermott.
DMR said $2 million is budgeted for Pass Christian in the program.
Although most Coast city and county governments are budgeted $2 million, DMR said Harrison County has been budgeted $663,211.36.