BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Budget talks began this week in Biloxi and leaders said some of the discussions center around finding the money to keep the lights on at the city's big new buildings.
The first monthly power bill for the new library-civic center is a whopping $15,800. That's Biloxi's largest electric payment ever for a single building.
Patrons said they're enjoying every inch of the new 22,000 square foot Biloxi library.
"I remember the old library but, this is what a library should grow up to be," said Elijah Prince, a patron. "I mean you have a lot of libraries that have a lot of cramped areas but this here. This is top of the line. So I'm glad to see they're putting some of the FEMA money to good use."
Despite what Prince thinks, FEMA money is not paying the electric bill for the library and adjoining civic center-Biloxi is.
The city expects to shell out about $15,000 a month there and another $6,000-$8,000 a month when the new visitors center opens on Highway 90.
However, officials said two large power bills will be a better bargain than what Biloxi paid to keep the lights on before Katrina when the city had a lot more properties.
"We actually think that's going to save a really good bit of money on staffing," said Biloxi Spokesperson Vincent Creel. "We only have to staff two sites now. Janitorial. Maintenance. We actually think we're going to save on insurance. Because if you look at the quality of these buildings and all of the susceptibility that we had with the other buildings, we think it's really a smart move for us."
The administration said right now is perfect timing to talk about the light bill.
"The mayor and city council are going to be sitting down right now crafting a budget as we go forward. They'll be able to plug these figures in for the entire year," Creel said.
Biloxi's next budget meeting to go over next year's operating expenses is Tuesday. Biloxi officials said all the lights at the new library civic center are activated by motion detectors and operate on timers to help conserve electricity.