A few weeks ago someone knowledgeable of the operations of the City of Bay St Louis indicated to Slabbed the city was not being diligent in collecting past due water bills and this is important because of cash flow problems the City is experiencing overall. Cash flow problems in municipalities is not unusual per se as the majority of the property taxes come in from December through February and taper off greatly from there. The general subject gets arcane and technical very quickly but the City needs cash to pay payroll period and it’d be nice to have enough left over to pay the bills too.
Lana Noonan of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government did the PRR work along with some analysis and this post would not be possible without her contribution and that of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government to the effort. First up is the list of major delinquent accounts and note that WLOX’s Al Showers in on that list owing over $500. Al, my best advice is to join The Advocate’s Richard Thompson and follow Slabbed immediately on Twitter because if I had to guess, those $100 water bills you are getting come partly from a leaky toilet and today I just happened to post on twitter a handy Youtube video on how to make the repair. Just guessing but I think Thompson has been close to militant on this issue because he covers folks like Jefferson Parish Councilman at Large Chris Roberts, a man that can make that repair in under 5 minutes at 5AM blindfolded with one hand tied behind his back. True dat Richard!
Without further ado here is the list of major H2O delinquents:
This above list covers roughly half the total 90 days plus delinquent balance of $146,124. Not listed are 7 City employees that show up as delinquent for lesser amounts:
- Jamie Favre–administrative asst.–HR/ins/Rec–$145.23–last payment (June 28, 2013) account status–Active
- Gregory Farve–Building Officer Enforcement Officer–$140.83–last payment (June 21, 2013) account status-Active
- Steve Forstall–administrator–parks & property–$70.34–last payment (July 30, 2103)-account status–Active
- Kevin Gaillot–patrolman–$149.68–last payment-(August 27,2013) account status–Active
- C. Sheppard–clerical–$62.39–last payment(August 15,2013) account status–Active
- M. Swanier–operator, drainage–$216.11 (last payment–12-2-2009) account status–Final Notice
- Charles Oliver–Building Inspector–last payment( July 16, 2013) account status–active
I noted a few instances where it appeared the same person was able to open at least one additional account under a similar variation of their first name while a previous account was disconnected. I noted at least three instances where new accounts have yet to pay for a single month and the accounts are still marked active.
Overall the list ran to 45 pages of data and most of the account balances were relatively small but the dollars add up to a total of $265,955, half of which would pay a few salaries plus some bills.
The receivable ageing also reveals some interesting 1 and 2 month delinquent accounts as of September 23, 2013 and that would be Hollywood Casino at $35,556 total due and Hancock Medical Center, which has amounts due dating back 60 days at $18,677. Very recently Dwayne Bremer wrote a story on the cash problems at the Hospital that dovetails nicely with being late paying the water bill.
The bottom line is times are tough here in Soggy Bottom and things are fixing to get far worse thanks to our politicians such as Steven Palazzo and that disastrous flood insurance bill he supported. Al Showers has that story:
Here is the full 48 page pdf for those so interested.