Gulfport, Hosemann at an impasse on harbor lease

GULFPORT — City leaders say they will not sign a harbor lease with Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, even though he insists one is required under a 1989 tidelands law.

“The city of Gulfport owns the land and we don’t like the idea of having to go to Jackson and say, ‘Daddy, can we?’” Chief Administrative Officer John Kelly told the Sun Herald last week. Kelly and other city officials said 80 percent of the property in and around the harbor, including Jones Park, was deeded to the city in 1935, the same year the state passed a law giving cities authority to own and operate harbors.

Hosemann believes the Tidelands Act takes precedent. It gives the secretary of state authority to lease water bottoms subject to the tide’s ebb and flow.

Sun Herald