To the Editor | Time to Sunset Hancock Solid Waste Authority

At the July 17, 2017, meeting of the Hancock County Board of Supervisors, Board President, Blaine La Fontaine, introduced the discussion for the dissolution of the Hancock County Solid Waste Commission. He concurred with the opinion of a growing number of citizens that this is an unnecessary layer of government for the taxpayers to support. La Fontaine backed up his statement with a study that he said revealed a savings of at least $125,00 a year in engineering and legal services alone. He suggested an inter-local agreement with the 3 cities similar to what Harrison County does and an invoice system for the collection of costs. In a county like Hancock where 75% of the school children are on free lunch, and the other 25% of the population are paying the bills, any savings is welcome news to the payers, and also exhibits a sense of fiscal responsibility on the part of our elected officials. Those were the viable “meat and potatoes” benefits outlined in the Board President’s presentation.

Since that presentation by La Fontaine, The Hancock County Alliance for Good Government has been doing some research of our own at the Solid Waste Commission reviewing minutes, audits, budgets, etc. Overages in engineering and legal fees are commonplace, and unfortunately go unaddressed by the Commission. Sadly, no mention in any minutes by the Commissioners of attempting to curtail these overages.

While all of the aforementioned issues matter on the bottom line to the taxpayers, the real selling point for the dissolution of this extra layer of county government came sharply into focus when Alliance members attended the June 10, meeting of the Commission. The lack of interest of the Commissioners is disturbing. Two didn’t utter one word during the entire meeting. The annual audit was presented without any pertinent questions. It was probably the shortest audit presentation to a public body we have ever witnessed. One Commissioner actually admitted he had not even read the audit even though it was sent to them in advance of the meeting.

The most egregious section of the meeting was when The Alliance asked the Commissioners about a resolution they passed in their minutes March 12, 2018 (15 months ago) to write to the MDEQ asking for MDEQ’s support of the Commission’s approval of the upgrade of another landfill in the county. I had personally visited the Solid Waste Office and made a Public Records Request for the Commission’s letter to MDEQ and MDEQ’s response when I found the resolution in their minutes. The secretary contacted me the next day to say my request could not be granted because there was no document available due to a decision by the Commission not to proceed in contacting MDEQ. A further review of their minutes has revealed no discussion, decision, or motion subsequent to March 12, 2018, resulting in a decision not to write to MDEQ. But, it is all too apparent that decision was made at sometime between March 12, 2018 and June 10, 2019, because the March 12, 2018, resolution they passed is still sitting in their minutes without being acted upon.

The Mississippi Supreme Court is on record stating that” the philosophy of the Open Meetings Act is that ALL deliberations, decisions, and business of ALL governmental boards and commissions, unless specifically excluded by statute, must be done in public and properly documented.” The resolution passed on March 12, 2018, dealt with a contractor, which is not protected from public discussion, and has to be in open session.

Could there be a financial savings to the taxpayers of Hancock County without this extra layer of government? We and many others think so. The other plus for the taxpayers would be the elimination of yet another taxpayer supported commission whose lack of interest was so evident on Monday, June 10. One of the Commissioners even stated on his way out of the meeting that he didn’t know why we even have to have this?! We agree with him.

Don’t we already have enough government in Hancock County for its mere 45,000 population with a county government, 3 cities, 2 school districts, 4 law firms, close to 50 elected officials, 3 city clerks and their deputies, a county administrator, 3 law enforcement agencies, numerous fire departments, and 4 auditing firms to keep up with all of the spending??!!

A gentleman called me one day and said that he was on temporary assignment at Stennis doing a study. He had a degree in City Planning and could not believe the amount of government in Hancock County for the population. He explained it was no wonder we can’t maintain roads and bridges, and do general infrastructure work without grants, or just plain doing without?

We requested of the Solid Waste Commissioners that they begin publishing their minutes, agendas, dockets, and audits on their website for easy access for the public. The county, all 3 cities, and both school districts all do this, and invited them to join in the effort for transparency. The Commission’s response was no response.

The last time I checked Hancock County was the only county in the state with this Solid Waste set up. What do the other 81 counties know that we don’t? Solid Waste is not the only area where we could consolidate services and provide savings to the citizens of Hancock County, but after 2 years of research and observing Monday’s meeting, it’s a great place to start!!

The Hancock County Alliance for Good Government,

Lana Noonan, Chairman
Ron Thorp, C0-Chairman
David Wells, Board Member
Sam Moore, Board Member
Libby Garcia, Board Member

29 thoughts on “To the Editor | Time to Sunset Hancock Solid Waste Authority”

  1. Who are the Supervisors representing? Is it King Land Fill or the Citizens of Hancock County? I say let King pay his own legal representation and the county create competition on garbage disposal. Right now the taxpayers are picking up King Land Fill’s Legal Bill.

  2. Blaine ran on the position he would eliminate the authority and save 150k annually. But once in office and sucking up the perks, he crawfished. He sat on that committee for years getting free stuff and enjoying the power and extra money. Now it’s election time and lawsuits flying around he stepped down and put EF, the fixer, in his place. He can’t stay in any position very long because of his forkked toung. Has to keep seeking new positions with expanded territory.

    1. I agree, Stupid. When the Supervisors voted against allowing other contractors to apply for business with them, they essentially took a position that is benefitting the current and only landfill operator. Therefore, when this gets to the courtroom, Santiago will have the benefit of the County, taxpayer compensated attorney in order for the Supervisors to defend their position, which defends his, while Mr. Boudin is paying for his own— Both of these men can take care of themselves financially, and should be paying their own way, not just one$$$$$

    2. What is Blaine going to do when he is no longer in politics? Oh, that’s right, he is going to be the voice behind Kodie K. Blaine will be driving every decision that his friend Kodie makes. We’ll never be rid of the short little fella.

  3. I agree that it’s a useless entity but am sad that Blaine is pulling this out of his hat at the end of his reign.

  4. How long has Blaine been on that authority if I remember right several years back I happen to be there for a meeting lo and behold I thought it was bring your kid to work week that’s how young he was then… just like the mosquito gig pull it out during election time… why did he get paychecks and perks all along and now it’s a “WASTE “ how many deals did you go to at casinos with the trash people for free give aways?? Just as fake as him showing up at a local bar/restaurant in Waveland walking around patting everybody on their back‘s then walking out the door. This restaurant has been open since Katrina he has never step foot in or once.

    1. I agree, it was strategically planned. However, despite poor timing, this argument needs to be had especially if we are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for pest control services that we aren’t getting. Its high time, regardless of motive, that someone call Moran out on his bullshit. He hasn’t done shit for Hancock County as a senator and hasn’t done shit for Hancock County as a pest control person. Break him from the tit. Its long overdue.

  5. Amen to the Alliance for this one! There are so many opportunities to consolidate resources and provide better services as a result. Nobody wants to fade the political heat for abolishing services in their respective jurisdiction, despite it truly being the best case scenario. Law enforcement is a prime example. Bay P.D. and Waveland P.D. are jokes. They are constantly short handed and unable to hire good qualified people to work for them. Why not consider consolidated law enforcement, similar to the way Diamondhead does with their police force. You would cut out so much administrative overhead and WASTE.

    1. Ward 5 here! Yea Alliance, Common etc…… Solid Waste of Time stipends, attorney fees, Kidd free ticket in the shit can long overdue…. Mr. Joey himself, along with Favre and Falgout tried to disband but Ladner, Seymour $$$, Lagasse, Mike Smith, Leslie then Blaine etc. backed out and kept it going. Waste of time and our money but checks for ALL who reps at meetings.

  6. Don’t forget Bobby Compretta was sucking it down and saying what ever Les says is how I feel do you have my check?

  7. So what surprises me is no one has even thought about the hospital deal that obviously had a few folks’ pockets padded. After a “nationwide” search for a company to purchase Hancock Medical, only one bidder shows up to the table and that is Ochsner? You can’t tell me that Blaine, David and company didn’t have some “incentives” from Ochsner. You can’t tell me that Ochsner didn’t use some good ole fashioned trickery, intimidation, bribery, etc to seal the deal. The Board of Stupervisors basically handed the hospital over because they were too inept to manage it, this is after they allowed Ochsner to further run it into the ground, making it look less appealing and attractive to potential bidders. Could this have anything to do with the idiots they placed on the HMC board of trustees? If I had to bet, Daddy Ochsner wrote some large checks to their personal accounts.

    If you couldn’t tell, I’m not a fan of Ochsner. All they have done is come in and destroy our hospital with no interest in Hancock County. They pay lip service to being “unrelentless” in Mississippi. They are UNRELENTLESS in taking patients to Louisiana. In doing so, they take tax money and inconvenience the patients three fold.

    1. The county selling the hospital was the best decision the BOS could make.
      The hospital continuously operated at a loss and getting rid of it saved the taxpayers of the county a lot of money.
      Now I agree that they are moving many patients across state lines to provide necessary services that used to go to Gulfport but they are also providing specialist that never would have been made available in Bay St. Louis.
      If the hospital had better oversight maybe they could have kept it here but the losses incurred there have been going on for many years.
      It was almost like stealing what they did to Ochsner, who else pays millions for an entity that loses money every year?

      1. So when you say the hospital operated at a loss, it was never a loss to the citizens of Hancock County. They sustained operations themselves, the entire time. Its only after they hired Ochsner to manage it that sustained operations was no longer feasible and we landed with the tax payers taking the hit. It was all a strategy. Ochsner could have managed it better, chose not to, and as a result scared the BOS into selling cheap. So now, when your loved one has a medical problem and gets sent to NOLA, you can thank the BOS for their crappy decision making.

        And for the record, the BOS most probably should not have been in the hospital business but it was since Katrina that the facility was mismanaged. No one could be bothered with it at that time.

  8. I agree the tax payer doesn’t need to be in the Hospital Business. It is quite a shame they let it go to the point it was not attractive to Gulfport Memorial. Now we are exporting our medical dollars to Louisiana. Hancock Medical is no more than a Referral Kiosk for Oschner. Myself and my family choose Gulfport Memorial and doctors that are in their system. It has worked out very well for us. You may want to give it a try.

  9. A little Public Service blurb here, if I may:
    Tonight at 6:00 pm at Diamondhead City Hall there will be a debate between State Senate District candidates Phillip Moran and Blaine La Fontaine. I just received this news or would have had it out there for you earlier.
    6:00 pm—
    Diamondhead City Hall!

    1. Sorry I missed the public forum on Wednesday and Thursday night. Lana and Doug … Can you start a post regarding the forum itself. I would like to hear from people that were able to attend, and hopefully get a recap of some of the significant happenings. I think it would be a good forum to bounce around what they are hearing in all the campaign promises and decipher truth from fiction.

  10. Debate tonight at Diamondhead City Hall at 6:00 pm between State Senate District 46 Candidates Phillip Moran and Blaine La Fontaine.
    Please attend!

  11. Bay St Louis residents need to remember that Moran gave away our Tourism money to the coastal tourism and now we are being hit with a 2% sales tax to recoup it.

    1. I’m not for either but BOS was given authority on 2% hotel tax by Legislature and voted 5-0 to take away from local Tourism and send to Biloxi BS Board. The 2% food tax is strictly a BSL Mayor/Council thing they can use Tourism gets 0.

      1. Facts,
        You are correct except they were pushing by including tourism as part of the need. Then I saw that Tish was pushing it as well.

        We all know what will happen if the funds are not specifically allocated…..the hands will go out looking for money. Tish is not shy about grabbing the Chamber cash.

    2. He didn’t do it alone. Maybe that will come up tonight. I am more offended by the rich private so called non profits getting away with not having to pay School taxes. Not one elected official from Jackson on down has stood up for the kids and teachers, just The Hancock County Alliance for Good Government!

      1. They are all guilty but BSL Consumers are being penalized with the tax with no direct way it is to be used. Define the tax exactly not leave it to elected officials to decide randomly what qualifies! That leads to more tax. Just like the last 4 mils it is general fund money!

  12. When will the businesses that receive direct benefit pay for their benefit? If it ain’t addressed now it will just be another consumer tax to go to the general fund. Tourism has to be defined and how it will be spent needs to be defined. Elected officials change and do do opinions!

  13. Blaine practically gave our hospital away for a couple hunting trips and who knows what else. If it was costing sooo much money to keep open, where is that money now that we are saving? Where’s the tax decrease? I’ve never been a Philip Moran fan, I felt he ran with to many girl’s while married. Him and Seymour ran around like international playboys at county funded conventions. I don’t know his arrangement at home and maybe he outgrew his shortcomings. But sending Blaine to another higher office would be insanity. Blain can’t tell the truth and he is for sale.

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