Gulfport’s mayor strikes back at WalletHub’s annual ranking of “Best & Worst Run Cities”

Mayor Billy Hewes says he’s speaking out because “a lie unchallenged becomes the truth.”
Mayor Billy Hewes says he’s speaking out because “a lie unchallenged becomes the truth.”
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 7:22 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Every year the personal finance website WalletHub chooses 150 cities across America and ranks them based on operating efficiency. And year after year, Gulfport’s overall rank puts them near the bottom.

Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes has had enough. He’s now calling out the website in an eight-page news release titled “WalletHoax.”

First, let’s take a closer look at the article titled “Best- & Worst-Run Cities in America.”

Source: WalletHub

For the study, WalletHub considers factors like “total budget per capita” and the “quality of city services.” On those two factors, Gulfport comes in at #145 for budget, and #101 for city services. The top ranking city - Nampa, ID - has the highest quality of city services and the smallest budget per capita.

That city services score is based on six individually scored categories. Here’s how Gulfport scored in each: Financial Stability #127, Education #9, Health #68, Safety #110, Economy #94, and Infrastructure & Pollution #122.

Notice in those individual categories, Gulfport actually did quite well in Education. But when all the factors come together, WalletHub ultimately ranks Gulfport near the bottom of the list at #141. In 2018, Gulfport ranked #146, and in 2019 the city came in next to last at #149.

And it’s that history, what the mayor calls “another myopic and confusing ranking,” that has him speaking out because “a lie unchallenged becomes the truth.”

“It didn’t help, when seeking clarification on their findings, that WalletHub officials rejected our request to discuss their research, process, and conclusions,” Hewes said in a statement.” Even more troubling is the small-print disclaimer stating, ‘we do not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented through our website.’”

Hewes goes on to cite a long list of awards, public and private investment projects, and attractions like the Mississippi Aquarium, the Mississippi Port at Gulfport, and the Tram, Bicycle, and Pedestrian Bridge currently being built over Highway 90. You can read his full statement here:

One final detail about this study: WalletHub says it’s comparing “150 of the largest U.S. cities,” but the author leaves out cities much larger than Gulfport, like Honolulu, Hawaii.

Rather, it appears the study sought to include at least two cities from every state (minus Hawaii), and Jackson and Gulfport are Mississippi’s two largest cities. But it should also be noted that neither city’s census population numbers qualify it to be in the top 150 largest cities in America.

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