Last night’s Bay City Council Heroes are Councilmen Reed and Falgout

By Lana Noonan, Special to Slabbed New Media

The big surprise party for Mayor Fillingame last night was courtesy of Ward 6 Councilman Lonnie Falgout. Falgout confronted City Attorney Rafferty and Mayor Fillingame with documents from the Hancock Bank pertaining to the Restructured Bond Agreement of last summer when the city could not come up with their payment of over 400,000 on Utility system bonded debt.

Falgout asked Rafferty if he was present when the documents were signed–Rafferty replied yes. Then Falgout told the Mayor that he had signed a document with the bank guaranteeing them that payments of not less than $30,000 a month would be DEPOSITED in the debt service holding account for the payment coming up on July 1, 2015.

Fillingame adamantly denied promising to DEPOSIT the money monthly to the debt service account until Falgout read the document aloud to the Mayor and all present. According to Falgout at the last meeting, no DEPOSITS were made from October, 2014 until the end of March, 2015, coincidentally when the Ad Valorem taxes were coming in from the County Tax office. So, what was happening to that “not less than $30,000 a month” promised to the bank under the Mayor and City Clerk’s signature? This is what caught the attention of Councilman-at-large Mike Favre when he didn’t see that account growing to the amount the council had appropriated in the 2014-2015 budget.

This is important because when the Mayor and City Clerk were taken to task several meetings ago about the funds not being deposited on a monthly basis or reported to the Council, the Mayor took the podium and chastised the Council saying–“you can only speak through your minutes, and you have never told us how you wanted it handled.” Mayor Fillingame then informed the council the transfer to the debt service fund would be made quarterly.

Well, get the Mayor some Aricept, because the Hancock Bank spoke through their document requiring the debt service account, the one that Mayor Fillingame and City Clerk David Kolf signed in the presence of the bank officials and the City attorney.

On the way out of the meeting, it was reported that Ward I Councilman Doug Seal said that if he had been responsible for signing that document for the bank promising monthly DEPOSITS, he wouldn’t have signed it. Right, Doug, then what would your plan B have been? I guess you would have just written a personal check for $450.000 to bail the city out. I imagine your spouse who is in Risk Management with that bank would have persuaded you to sign on the dotted line.

Libby Garcia of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government approached the Council last night and asked them to seek legal counsel as to their Council Clerk having a pass code to the city’s bank accounts since it is always so difficult to get information from the City Clerk. This will establish the balance of powers too since the Council is legally responsible for the city’s finances. The administration can’t spend a penny the Council does not approve.

At this point Ward III Councilman, Bishop Jeff Reed said that for the last 31 years that his church has been in operation, the books of account have always been open to his congregation since they are the folks making the donations. Maybe Jeff should invite Les to come get baptized. He may see the light. Good for Jeff Reed. Great statement.

The tale of the City Engineer appearing before the School Board for a fund requisition for sidewalks on Carroll Ave. is ongoing. Even though the Engineer was there last night, the Mayor did not call on him for a report on how his request to the school board went. I had previously enlightened the Council as to what was going on since the Mayor hadn’t informed them that their Engineer was even appearing before the School Board.

This side walk deal brought to mind another issue, that being–we have one Bay City Councilman, Falgout, and one Bay School Board member, Singleton, running for District 4 Supervisor this year. Wonder how they will defend their position on spending school taxes collected from residents in the City of Waveland for education on sidewalks for Bay St. Louis. This is pertinent too, because part of District 4 runs through Waveland. Think about it boys.

Unfortunately for the public is the way Mayor Fillingame conducts business, and how that Council follows right along most of the time. For instance, they have no “start-up” funds any city sidewalk projects, but they spend $2,000 of the public’s money for an appraisal on the Garden Center, and then public money for advertising for proposals from licensed realtors to bid on the contract to sell it. The City gets a appraisal of the structure valuing it at $150,000, but have never awarded a sales contract with the Mayor now saying FEMA won’t let them sell it, after telling the Council last year that he had spoken to FEMA and it was all okay.

The Hancock County Alliance for Good Government was well represented last night and had some very pertinent questions for the Council and Mayor, not that any decent answers were forthcoming. David Wells, of Ward 6 asked the Council and Mayor again what they did with the Solid Waste and Utility Authority payments that were never forwarded to those agencies and resulted in a $500,000 loan at First Bank that residents of Ward 6 had to help pay and they don’t even get utilities from the City. They are still with Hancock Water and Sewer District. Seal’s answer was “we just weren’t charging enough for our services.” What services? You don’t provide those services. And couldn’t the City have simply sent the agencies at least what was collected for that purpose? Instead the City remitted nothing for 3 consecutive months, all the while claiming that you had great collection rates stating that 97.1% of the users were paying faithfully each month.

Building Inspector Charles Oliver’s wife tried to tell Wells that he was all mixed up and didn’t understand the situation. Right, I’ll be charitable enough not to comment on that one.

Stay tuned as the Audit Report is approaching. The Alliance for Good Government is taking this approach from here on out: “If you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.” And we are just getting started stirring the coals. They’ll be turning really good and white in the next month or so.

Stay tuned,

Lana Noonan, Chairman
Hancock County Alliance for Good Government

13 thoughts on “Last night’s Bay City Council Heroes are Councilmen Reed and Falgout”

  1. Don’t forget the well has been down since January on Easterbrook, and Les Lie told them its been a few weeks!!!
    Sounds Like Hancock Bank should default the loan, and bill it to Les and Bobbie!!!

  2. Oh thats OK Les will open the valve to The Hancock Utility Authority and bill the Bay users 3 times the current rate!!!
    We have plenty OH water according to his smerk when I asked that question!

  3. I presented the sidewalk fiasco to the Waveland officials tonight at their meeting. They are sending Mayor Smith to the Bay St. Louis City Hall tomorrow for Waveland to be represented along with one of our school board members, Mike Bell. Mayor Fillingame thought he could just arbitrarily grab Waveland’s taxes for his sidewalks (if that is what this is really about) without including Waveland in the conversation. What kind of ego is that? Doug, you ran a good post recently on Poliyical Sociopaths—this is a textbook case—rules are for everyone but them!!

  4. Bad news in the Sun Herald front page for the Bay Mayor and Council today. They are the fastest growing city in Miss. And can’t find $50k for a sidewalk project to get started. Sent their city engineer to the school board to ask for it which includes taking it from Waveland as well since they dump property taxes in that same pot being the other city that supports the school district. The Bay Mayor didn’t even invite Waveland officials to the table for the meeting today at Fillingame’s office, but they are going to be there to protect their citizens and the rule of law, which has bece a rare commodity in the Bay. I would imagine the Risk Management team at Hancock Bank is reading this “good” news as well—out of excuses now—July 1 is around the corner!!

    1. Mr. Mueller should be commended for his news coverage of Bay St. Louis and Hancock County. He has been a welcomed breath of fresh air. For a while I was beginning to think the SunHerald forgot Hancock county was still in existence.

      That being said, I question the population data that was used for the SunHerald article. The census of 2000 and the interim census data for the city of Bay St. Louis did not officially include the newly annexed area for a long time. The annexed are was certainly not included in the 2005 numbers since the annexation wasn’t finalized until long after Katrina. There were hundreds government funded “marketing” and recovery “project” studies completed, post Katrina, using the skewed population numbers (not including annexed area population). If it hadn’t been such an absurd waste of taxpayer money, it might have been funny.

      Bottom line: until the Sunherald can show us the “real” pre-katrina population #’s including the annexed area compared to the same population today, we should all have serious doubt that BSL is the fastest growing city along the coast. The fastest to spend more money than we have, yes. We would win that award and a few more doozies quite easily.

  5. The truth is in none of them. As i always say they get paid and if any is left les can do as he likes. Les lies and Rafferty swears to it. Bobby C is pitiful. He gets his and to hell with the rest. Mainly he is not smart enough to understand that is why les has him on every board he can. Bobby cant think for himself. But he did figure out how to develope his family compound without following code and ordinances saving him thousands of dollars, les also had city employees plant crepe myrtls in his yard that were donated to the city for all to enjoy. They all need to be considered for recall. At some point it is criminal, misfeasance, malfeasance or just plain out fraud.

  6. The best measure of growth in a community is school population and in the local school district they are stagnant right now a drop in enrollment of 39 students over the last 2 years. At least that is what is being reported by the State Dept. Of Education. The need for more schools is a sure sign of growth, and an encouraging sign that young families are coming to put down roots. It may improve someday, but as yet the schools have not regained their pre-Katrina enrollment. I am convinced that a lot of it is insurance and lack of decent employment opportunities. The Bay Mayor continues to refer to the first two blocks of Main St. As the cities economic engine while he ignores the state highway that runs through his town. That is the economic engine that has kept both the Bay and Waveland alive for decades like so any other small towns, and he can see it everyday fr his office window which is where? On the highway!!! Unreal.

    1. I think you can reconcile that anomaly by demographics and you actually hit the drivers in the current insurance marketplace and lack of employment opportunities.

      A tourism based economy means the job opportunities are of the minimum wage variety. And it is expensive to live here. So you have the better part of the Cedar Point area still undeveloped except on North Beach Blvd – an area where hundreds of families used to live. That housing stock has been replaced in part by the tax credit developments like the one on Carroll Ave where Hizzoner now wants a school district funded sidewalk. But the overall population of families with children has shrunk as a percentage of the total and the enrollment figures you cite bear that out.

      I also have had the privilege to get to know a few of the town’s newer residents. They are older folks that are empty nesters for the most part. And then you have the part timers like Carville and his wife.

      And CoastalGal points out BSL now also has the annexed areas which make a comparison with Pre-Katrina population numbers misleading.

  7. The subsidized apartment complex behind Domino’s Pizza where the sidewalks are proposed is another example of the “tax users” getting another gift from the tax payers and the Mayor of all people promoting this. These folks pay no property taxes, and until recently no utilities.but this is who the Mayor is looking out for, and from what I hear they keep the Police Dept. pretty busy too.
    And I guess this is the new definition of “Growth!”

    1. Lana,

      You can thank Gov. Barbor, MDA, the previous mayor, the city council and an unregulated state agency for the extra thousand + subsidized housing and apartment units in Bay St. Louis and Hancock County. Every single one of the “tax-credit” apartments we have in Bay St. Louis was given the blessing to be built by the mayor and city council. I witnessed Jimmie Ladner try to talk sense into the council about granting too many approvals because of the negative impact the tax subsidized housing would have on the community. Examples he gave: more people in need of services w/o tax growth. More students in the schools w/o property taxes to offset the increase, more police and fire protection, etc. The council all smiled, nodded politely and thanked him for stopping by. They did not listen and they did nothing to stop the deluge of building. So, you really can’t blame Les for the housing mess and extra strain on the taxpayers they have caused. He can be blamed for not managing money and resources well. We can all thank the city council and Gov. Barbor for the extra tax burden we share due to these developments.

      Little known fact: the county did not participate in the section 8 voucher program, pre-Katrina. Only after the hurricane did the BWHA receive emergency vouchers for local residents. Now we have more than double the number of subsidized and tax credit housing/apartments than prior to Katrina. While the number of vouchers provided annually has decreased over the last ten years, the section 8 voucher program has remained in place as well.

  8. #It was a clerical error. You do not understand how hard it is to run a city while we employ idiots. I’m smart and they are not.
    #Clerical error after clerical error and then council members who don’t trust me. I even deal with equipment failures.

    To quantify the above:
    #Who ever paid the City Insurance Premium with Harbor funds was an inept fool.
    #The Attorney was instructed to send all the Loan Documents twice to the Council. That fool screwed it up not once but twice as he omitted the last three (3) pages that gave the instructions on when to deposit the funds into a dedicated Account and anyway the council didn’t specify. I can’t help it if the Attorney is a fool as well as the clerk who also paid the Insurance Premium out of the Harbor Fund.
    #Tax Payers are fools if they think I paid the Garbage Dumpsters for Restaurants and Bars with City resources and money.
    I just need a hug, a cup of coffee and 2 million dollars to improve my day!

  9. There is an old political saying “if you can’t help your friends who can you help”?
    How about helping the people of Bay St. Louis.
    Les needs Bobby’s stupidity and non understanding of what he votes on. He is just a puppet for Les. They should just put a mannequin in his chair with a string attached to Les. Then every time the vote is called Les can just pull the string to raise his arm. Same affect… Neither the mannequin or Bobby have a brain.

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