Ocean Springs shifts loan funds toward public service complex

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Ocean Springs leaders are reallocating part of a $4.6 million loan to help pay for the city's multi-million dollar public safety complex.  The complex is currently out for bid.

Three million dollars of the loan is earmarked for city projects. Some $480,000 was originally budgeted to go toward the complex. Now the city is instead allocating $840,000 of that money to the project.

Mayor Connie Moran said those funds have been taken away from two possible projects.  One is an air conditioner upgrade at city hall, which could be funded through a grant. The other is a proposed renovation of the current police station. Moran said the need for the police station renovation has been greatly diminished.

"What we do want is a substation for the police for downtown," Moran said.  "A downtown presence is what's paramount. We really don't need a completely refurbished city hall annex since we just fixed up the old city hall."

The air conditioner project originally took up an estimated $120,000 of the loan. The police department renovation was originally slated for $400,000. That's been cut to $150,000. 

Moran said the reallocation reflected possible plans to build a courtroom at the complex, which was not a part of the original budget.  She said the increase had nothing to do with the two percent food and beverage tax, which is projected to pay for much of the complex.
"The two percent funding has been allocated to projects well over a year ago," Moran said.  "Four and a half million dollars of the two percent funding is going to the public safety complex. That has not changed at all. Another $4.5 to $5 million is going to Highway 57, that has not changed at all."
The Board of Aldermen and several architects discussed budgeting for the public safety complex in an executive session Tuesday night.

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