Long Beach voters approve Mississippi Power Franchise Agreement
By Andy Kanengiser
Voters in Long Beach, Gulfport and other Gulf Coast communities voted in favor of a franchise agreement with the Mississippi Power Company.
The vote in cities across the region on August 4 wasn’t really close at all.
In Long Beach, the tally in the special election was 355 voters in favor of the agreement and 25 residents opposed, according to Long Beach Community Affairs Director Jenny Levens.
Voting yes doesn’t raise taxes. Instead, a yes vote entitles Long Beach and other cities to three percent of gross revenue that Mississippi Power collects from residents and businesses. But by voting no, the revenue would decrease the amount to two percent for Long Beach. It comes at a time when cities across South Mississippi are strapped for cash due to economic woes stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Special elections in early August occurred in Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach, Pass Christian, Ocean Springs, Pascagoula and Bay St. Louis. Across the region, there was strong voter support in favor of the new franchise agreement with Mississippi Power.
In the City of Columbia, 96.7 percent of the voters approved the Mississippi Power franchise agreement.
Every twenty-five years, residents in Long Beach and other South Mississippi towns get the opportunity to renew the revenue amount of the franchise agreement. The funds help provide essential programs and City services.
While the special election didn’t attract a huge turnout of voters in Long Beach, the franchise agreement with Mississippi Power is significant, City leaders say.
City of Long Beach leaders wanted to extend the partnership the community has maintained with Mississippi Power for more than a half-century.
Under this new agreement, Mississippi Power will pay Long Beach three percent of all revenues (residential, commercial and industrial) generated in the city.
Based in Gulfport, Mississippi Power serves more than 188,000 customers in twenty-three southeast Mississippi counties. The electric utility is a subsidiary of the Atlanta-based Southern Company.