Tidelandgate: Never a dull moment here in the Bay

I’m seeing the sure signs this is an election year:

Mayors ‘disappointed’ by Tidelands Fund allocations ~ Geoff Belcher

There is something about the narrative that does not make sense and that would be why it wasn’t the House version of the funding split that was not ultimately passed if the versions between the House and Senate bills were so radically different. Has Hancock County’s allocation of Tideland’s money been cut overall? If the answer to the second question is no, then perhaps the respective Hizzoners should have engaged the process in the State Senate.

At the bottom of this is a failure of leadership and that stretches beyond eliminating the wave break from the construction plans for the Bay Harbor.

Stay tuned.

10 thoughts on “Tidelandgate: Never a dull moment here in the Bay”

  1. It appears to me the lack of funding for Bay Saint Louis is just an extension of the gross negligence that the royal mayor and his court have established as the new standard. First things first, not one penny of that money would have been spent where it is desperately needed (you know, the stepchildren of BSL, Wards 5 & 6), but all of us over here in BSL would have still liked to see, at least an equal share of the funds. It is hard to blame anyone for not giving money to the current administration though….the precedent was set long ago for a guarantee of misappropriation! Let’s see what happens with what money that they did receive; maybe they will hire the same company that BWSD hired to build the parking lot over at Bay High….that’s an easy way to get rid of some cash.

  2. At the meeting last night another issue arose in addition to the Tidelands debate. Councilman-at-large, Mike Favre questioned with intensity $140,000 that is missing in the Debt Service Fund. He reiterated to the City Clerk and Mayor the importance of that money being available for the Debt Service and that it has been added to each utility users bill at an additional $13.00 a month. The Council called a Workshop for Monday, April 13, at 5:30pm to discuss that as well as 5 employees the Mayor presented for pay raises last night.
    The Council would not act on these until they review finances at this Workshop on this coming Monday.
    One of the raises was $5,000. So finances continue to be a serious issue.
    The conversation on Tidelands Funds was so convoluted that who knows how that will be resolved. The Mayor stated that “$393,00 has already been appropriated to Bay St. Louis for Tidelands to do the Harbor work.” Houdini will have to unravel this one.
    Variances to build new developments were a huge issue with the Council appearing to contradict themselves by allowing Stephen Crawford’s request and denying Matt Rosendahl for the same reason they allowed Crawford. Very confusing. P &Z denied both of them, but the Council allowed Crawford.
    Stay tuned.

    1. The reason I was against giving these people any more money was because it was simply throwing more good money after the bad down a bottomless pit. The only thing that will force the administration to do right by the citizenry is a Writ of Mandamus. I’m fed up to the point where I’d put my own name on the filing but my litigation plate is full.

      The citizens of Bay St Louis have to step up for things to improve.

    2. Well, it doesn’t surprise me at all that Stephen Crawford got whatever he wanted from the mayor. He has become a plague to BSL since he arrived on the scene; when he supposedly “owned” The French Settlement. It is pretty obvious that their little click went to the same “accountability and oversight” conference onboard someone’s vessel, ITS OTHER PEOPLES MONEY SO WHO CARES!

  3. My hope for my good friends and FAMILY in the Bay is that they don’t have another LOAN to pay off at a bank to cover again for whatever is happening to their UTILITY ACCOUNT. Mike Favre has fire in his belly and hope the flames will spread to the other Council and public to get to the bottom of this. It has to be done. NOW.

  4. The Mayor’s pay raise proposals to the Council on Tuesday evening raised my curiosity, so I did a review of the 2013-14 Personnel Budget for the city. The janitor in question that the Mayor is recommending for what I understand is a $2.00 per hour increase presently makes more per hour than every Fireman currently employed by the city with the exception of the Chief. That includes the administrator of the Fire Dept.
    If the Council approves this bump in pay, his hourly rate will exceed 15 of the Police Officers currently employed by the city.
    Now, let’s think this through logically—nothing against this janitor, and I am sure he is doing a fine job for the city, and granted his work is at best not pleasant, and at worst sometimes disgusting. But, does his position require the taxpayers to invest in any special training for him?
    Is his life in danger while he performs his duties?
    We know the answer to all of these questions, and so do the Mayor and Council. They also know that he retired with Social Security benefits, and has returned to the city’s employment.
    And, knowing all of this, if this expenditure is granted the Mayor by the Council, I would suggest to the Council and Mayor in the future, if any of their homes catch on fire, or they find some creep invading their home with a gun on him, CALL THE JANITOR.

  5. Well aint that some bs! Little fun fact for those intrested… Good ole Rep Eure is REALLY good friends (like county club good friends) with the famous Miller Time. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe there was some kind of spat (not sure of the details) between Baria and a few employees of Marine Resources some time back (i could be wrong, yet it could have been a rumor) Eure being on the Appropreations Committee controlling money that is managed by Marine Resources… Coincidence? I think not. So, whatever shall we do with the remaining money boys? Same game, different players my friends…

  6. Well, the Mayor’s wish list for raises grew from 3 last week to a several page request at tonight’s financial workshop. Council President Compretta informed the Mayor he personally was not in favor of doing raises in the middle of a fiscal year with some pretty significant financial issues on the table.
    The new City Clerk doesn’t seem to ever come to a meeting prepared. Too many “I don’t have that with me” answers. After all, the workshop was called last Tues. It’s not like she had to appear at the last minute.
    She did say the collections in the utility dept. were good. But that begs the question, why isn’t the money there for the bond restructure payment? The Council had to accommodate Hancock Bank’s request last summer of a plan to secure the funds before the bank would restructure the bond. The plan was a $13 a month surcharge on every utility bill. So, if the bills are all being paid on time, where is the accumulated surcharge for the bond payment? From listening to the Council tonight, I think she and the administration had better come with some answers next Tues.

  7. Watch Out Bay St. Louis you better be prepared for a 5 Mil Tax Increase. Mr. Mayor is really calculating and devious.
    The city last year put a surcharge on everyone’s Utility bill to pay for a Bank Loan they made to pay The Utility Authority for payments they DID NOT make on money collected from us.
    Now it is my understanding, the city does not have the money to make the debt payment to Hancock Bank with the additional 13.00 collected each month.
    When the original discussion with the Bank and payments were made last year a question was raised? What if we don’t pay it back in June? The Bank responded with they could put a 5 MIL tax on our Property Tax Bill to pay the debt.
    Well, guess what, Mr. Seal last week suggested the council look at putting a 5 MIL tax increase to pay this. Where do you think this is all coming from. Does anyone remember last year at the meeting Mrs. Seal, who works for Hancock and involved in the Bank process made a scene at her husband for not voting the way she wanted him to in favor of the Bank.
    Now all of a sudden Mr. Seal suggests 5 Mil Something Stinks here.
    So if the council votes on the 5 mil, where is the money added to our bills that was not paid. This will be the 3rd layer of assessments to the good citizens of Bay St. Louis so Mr. Les can take money from any account he wants and pay regular payroll or bills.
    If we have to pay the 5 mils for the Hancock Debt, then the council should rescind the surcharge on utility bills since that is not being used for the purpose it was applied for.
    1-Money was collected to pay Utility Authority by City
    2-Money was NOT paid
    3-Special assessment was put on our utility bills to pay debt to Hancock Bank for loan to pay utility authority
    4-Utility authority still NOT paid with assessment. Money still owed.
    5-Mil increase to pay Bank for loan for NON payment of Utility Bill which city collected special assessment to pay for NON payment originally to Utility Authority for money collected by City.
    Everyone Gets This?? When does it end Mr. Mayor. At least if the Bank assess us the 5 mil it goes directly to them. If the council votes it, it may not be directly designated for Bank.

    Where is the Money Mr. Mayor ???? There is $140,000 missing. What excuse will you use now? And to make matters worse, the new clerk is NO better than the previous one. She can’t find anything when the council asks for it.
    I want my 13.00 back. It was not used for the purpose proposed to the people of the Bay and What council voted on. That is not legal.

  8. Totally, Totally Disgusted,
    Multiply yourself by hundreds, and when this is over by maybe thousands in the Bay. Actually, the $13.00 surcharge that was added to your utility bill each month this past year was to pay a Bond at the Hancock Bank that the city could not pay last July 1. The amount was around $400,000 give or take. Anyway, the bond attorneys with Butler Snow were hired by the city to restructure the bond and get the city off the hook for the payment for 1 year. But, the city council had to have a plan to present to the bank that would guarantee the funds would be there this July 1, 2015. So, they took their number of utility users and calculated that a surcharge of $13 a month would secure the money for the bank this July 1, 2015.
    The Hancock Bank Rep. candidly told he council last summer that if the city defaulted again this year, the bank could force them to assess their citizens with up to a 5 mil tax increase for the bank to get their money.
    Now, here is where it gets interesting. Apparently, this went right over the Mayor’s head, or did he take that as his way out of his financial troubles this year? He would just use the $13 a month surcharge for “whatever” and then let the bank force the council to assess the citizens with the 5 mils. Since he can’t vote, it would all be on the back of the council and everyone would be mad at them.
    This situation has nothing to do with the loan at The First Bank to cover the $370 + that was absconded from the utility dept. the year before. This is stacking higher than a Dagwood sandwich for those who remember who he was.
    It just goes on and on and on in the Bay.
    But the reality is they have 10 weeks to produce and if they can’t produce this money that the utility users provided them with, then the question is obvious: WHERE THE HELL IS IT?
    It was, from what I hear, a tense situation for Ward I Council Seal’s Mrs. last year because she is with the Risk Management Dept. at Hancock Bank where the Bond is held for the city and had to sit there with everyone knowing the city her husband manages financially defaulted on the 2014 payment and had to be restructured. Imagine this year when he and his colleagues default again after being given a year’s reprieve from the Bond holder. Ouch!!
    I wonder if Councilman Seal should even vote on this payment to the Bank where his wife is employed. Other members of the same council have had to leave the room for the discussion and vote on issues that involve their family or personal business.
    Gonna be a long hot summer in the Bay. If they think folks are complaining about the rough water in the new Harbor, wait til this fit hits the shan!!!

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