I reckon over the past month or so I could have taken a victory lap or two but knowing what is in store has taken the celebratory edge off here at Slabbed New Media. What I am talking about?
1. $300,000 in Equitable Sharing Funds to be repaid.
2. Water and Sewer bond sinking fund, supposedly funded with a $13/month utility account surcharge, is missing another $300,000 or so as the surcharge has been diverted to pay the City’s operating expenses.
Item 1 plus 2 equal over $600,000 but it is worse than that – it has to be because of the problems with not paying Fuelman signals a larger problem for the City of Bay St Louis in not having any cash despite this being the cash rich time of the year for a Mississippi municipality. So the big question remains the same, how much is the accumulated deficit Hizzoner has diligently tried to hide? I poised that question to friends in both high and low places. The best guess answer came from a City official under grant of anonymity as this official was not authorized to discuss the City’s finances and the number is…..
In excess of $950,000 which is more than half of the total property tax collections the City collects annually. While not as far along on the road to insolvency as Hattiesburg Municipal Schools the cure will ultimately be the same.
While recent history has evidently taught the Bay city administration nothing, it should not be lost on all others that the longer this drags out, the worse the human toll that is taken by the financial cure.