First of all, a Happy New Year to all–hope your holidays were all you wanted them to be and the New Year will be successful for you. This year will be a year of “elections” or “decisions” if you will. Waveland will hold their municipal elections in the Fall, and if that seems far off, just wait. It will be here before you know it. Certainly the announcements and campaigning will be here soon. The Alliance will sponsor a political forum as we do for all the elections, so stay tuned if you are a candidate or simply a voter.
Events that have unfolded since the Bay St. Louis officials took the oath of office last July indicate that the Bay City Council needs to “elect” to see that their city’s bills get paid whether or not the Mayor does. They may have to “take the checkbook” away from him if need be. This is, of course, a figure of speech, but they do have the legal responsibility for seeing that the bills are paid, which could be to refuse to approve any more dockets until he pays the Solid Waste and Hancock County Utility Authorities what the city owes them. After all, these folks have dockets to pay as well. And using the excuse that they fell behind because they didn’t charge enough for utilities is ridiculous. That’s not the fault of the Utility Authorities. By the way, what happened to the $500,000 line of credit that was supposed to cover these utility bills? And, most importantly, what is the administration doing with the money the users are sending to city hall to pay these bills? The city does’t own any garbage trucks or employ any garbage workers. So what makes them think they can keep funds for a service they not only do not, but cannot perform? Amazing. Who knows what the list of delinquent bills looks like? Now we are hearing that Lowe’s has cut the city off for non payment; and heard it from RELIABLE sources.
Let’s hope the ad valorem taxes in the Bay are enough to take care of these problems what with the Harbor coming on board between March and May–built by the Feds, but to be maintained by the locals. The continuing long list of foreclosures in the paper each week is very disturbing.
The Board of Supervisors has “decided” to publish their claim dockets in the Sea Coast Echo. You can find them in the legal notice section of the paper, so take advantage of your tax dollars being spent in this worthwhile endeavor to keep you informed as to where the rest of the money is going, and read the list of expenditures. We are still waiting for the new County Website to materialize. That is supposed to be functioning by April so we were told.
Now into the second semester of school, and the Superintendent of Education in the Bay-Waveland School District has yet to “decide” to publish an enrollment number for the current school year. This is the figure the district uses to obtain state funding on their average daily attendance formula. Trustee Benvenutti tried to get the number out of Superintendent Ladner at the December meeting, but didn’t have much luck. The best figure that could be obtained that night was from an administrator’s phone as to how many students were in school that particular day, which was 1,906. If the enrollment is falling in the county as it must be in the Bay, it is definitely time to combine these two districts at least administratively for a savings to the taxpayers regarding all the duplication of administrative positions.
The Common Core Curriculum is making the news with parents and teachers in objection to it. However, our State leaders have “decided” its implementation is a must. Our hope is that all of the administrators who will be in charge of this program on our campuses are appropriately certified to see that this is successful and beneficial to the children. This is not a time in our educational system’s history for novices or people with “rush through” type certification. Our third graders have to be reading at grade level this year or they have to be held back. The stakes are high and the qualifications for seeing that they are met should be just as high.
Diamondhead Water and Sewer District made a smart “decision” not to join the Hancock County Utility Authority, but to upgrade their own facility. It seems the Hancock County Utility Authority may have some financial problems of their own over and above having to deal with the city of Bay St. Louis and their failure to pay on a regular basis.
The Court system should be getting busy this year with the DMR officials and the $6million dollar suit in Federal Court regarding the “purchase” of the Bay Tech Building which is being converted into a new business office by the Bay-Waveland School District. Depositions are going to get underway this month in the Bay Tech case. These cases should provide for some interesting reading as they unfold.
Let us not forget that the Mayor of Bay St. Louis has another appointment to the School Board coming up in Feb. Hope the process doesn’t get butchered like it did last year. It’s really very simple if they’ll just go by state law, which is sometimes quite a challenge lately. Hopefully Mike Benvenutti will agree to a second term. He has done a good job, often by himself. Hope the Mayor will ask him to stay on the job.
If your New Year’s Resolution list isn’t too long, consider adding to it resolving to attend some public meetings to educate yourselves as to how your elected officials are doing at the jobs you hired them to do. Today’s (Sun. January 12) Sun Herald editorial is great about elected officials being reminded they work for us, not the other way around. For information on when and where the local government bodies meet, here are the contact numbers:
Bay St. Louis City Council: 469-9121
Waveland Board of Aldermen–467-4134
Diamondhead City Council–222-4626
Hancock County Board of Supervisors–467-0172
Solid Waste Authority–466-4663
Hancock County Utility Authority–467-3702
Bay-Waveland School District–467-6621
Hancock County School District–255-0376
Have a great month, and we hope to see you at some meetings.
Hancock County Alliance For Good Government
Lana Noonan, Chairman
Ames Kergosien, Co-Chairman