Biloxi council to consider Ohr funding proposal Tuesday

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi City Council has called a special meeting for Tuesday morning to discuss a measure that would have the city paying all property insurance, maintenance and utility costs for the three completed buildings at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art. The city would begin paying those costs for the remaining two buildings once they are completed.

The initial costs to the city are expected to be about a quarter-million dollars a year, according to David Staehling, the city's director of administration.

The meeting to discuss the Ohr issue will begin after a 10 a.m. meeting where councilmembers were scheduled to formally adopt a municipal budget for Fiscal Year 2012, which begins Oct. 1. Both meetings will be at City Hall and are open to the public.

The Ohr measure, which is being proposed by Councilmember Bill Stallworth, could mean that the city would incur about $250,000 a year in expenses for the project initially, according to Staehling. The figure was based on a utility cost estimate of $110,000 a year and $60,000 a year for maintenance. Also in the figure was the cost of property insurance for the three buildings now operating.

Ohr representatives had previously told the City Council that insurance would cost $114,000 a year, but Staehling said the insurance cost to the city under the proposal should actually be about $78,000 a year once other clauses, such as workmen's compensation insurance, are removed.

The special meeting also will include a measure for the city to release more insurance proceeds for construction at the McElroy's site at the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor.

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