After three hours of deliberations and public input on the Beach Drive land issue that dominated the agenda, the Gulfport City Council took just a few moments at the end of its Nov. 1 regular meeting to give final approval to four ordinances regarding ongoing city business. All had first readings approved Oct. 18.
Three of the ordinances in question contained amendments pertaining to three city-sponsored pension funds: the City of Gulfport Firefighters Retirement Pension Fund; the City of Gulfport Municipal Police Officers’ Trust Fund; and the City of Gulfport General Employees’ Pension Plan.
According to city officials, the changes reflect changes to the Internal Revenue Code and associated U.S. Treasury regulations, and are intended to help maintain compliance with those guidelines and provide for more flexibility in investment asset allocation to increase investment returns while still minimizing risk.
The financial impact to the city is microscopic, with an actuarial impact of 1/10 of 1% increase regarding the firefighters’ fund and zero change on the other two, officials said.
The Board of Trustees for each fund recommended approval of the changes and adoption of the new ordinances. The City Council voted unanimously to approve each one, and there was no public comment or council discussion at either the first or second readings.
Also approved was the second reading of an ordinance authorizing the renewal of the Gulfport Historical Society’s lease of two city-owned buildings – the Gulfport History Museum at 5310 28th Ave. S., and Bryer Hall – home of the Gulfport Arts Center – at 2726 54th St. S. Both are within the perimeter of Chase Park.
The renewal is for five years, with rent set at one dollar per year. The ordinance previously contained a provision for an additional five-year option, but the council decided at its previous meeting to remove that provision.
City expenses budgeted for the facilities amount to $1,200 annually. Utility and maintenance costs are covered by the Cultural Facilities and Public Works departments.
As part of the lease agreement, the city is named as a co-insured on the Society’s required liability insurance in the amount of $1 million. The city is also indemnified per the agreement.
Council members – Vice Mayor Christine Brown is a past GHS board chair – and other city officials agreed that the community volunteer effort which keeps the organization going precludes the city from incurring personnel costs for a curator for the items under the Society’s care.
“They do reciprocate for you allowing them use of both buildings,” said City Manager Jim O’Reilly, pointing out the recent Arts Center event that was enjoyed by several council members and other members of the public. “If we didn’t have the Historical Society, I would have to have someone work through the library as a curator of the city’s memorabilia.”
By the terms of its lease, the Gulfport History Museum does not charge admission.