City accepts BP settlement, sets lighthouse relocation timeline

Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 10:22 AM.

The budget season began for Port St. Joe city commissioners on Tuesday and there was a bonus on the ledger.

Commissioners opened the process for crafting next fiscal year’s budget during a workshop and among the items on the revenue side was over half a million dollars from BP.

Several meetings ago, commissioners approved attorneys to reach a final number and the oil giant’s final compensation to the city for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill totaled $675,000 to settle all outstanding city claims.

After attorney’s fees and other costs, the city netted $539,000, which city manager Jim Anderson said sits in a segregated account.

And commissioners and staff came armed with a wish list of projects that are currently beyond the general fund budget but will serve as suggestions for spending the money.

That wish list includes improvements to the Centennial Building, the 10th Street ball fields, the demolition and development of the old Gulf Pines Hospital site and, maybe most importantly, funding refinance charges on a loan with Regions Bank.

Commissioners are examining ways to refinance that loan, which has a balloon payment in 2015, in order to maintain the lowest interest rate possible on long-term debt that city manager Jim Anderson noted is approaching $20 million.

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