Sunday Open

Local:

Critics take complaints over city clerk’s raise to Waveland aldermen ~ Geoff Belcher

Bay harbor commissioner resigns ~ Dwayne Bremer

Sports:

Rita Benson Leblanc???

Tom Benson has long harbored doubts about heir apparent Rita, friends say ~ Ramon Antonio Vargas

Business:

Chiquita-Charlotte divorce may cost up to $40 million ~ Jen Wilson

Bitcoin and the Digital-Currency Revolution ~ Michael Casey & Paul Vigna (Subscription required)

Heckuva job Barackie! Continue reading “Sunday Open”

Guest Post | Hancock County Alliance for Good Government: 2014—-A Year of “Elections” and “Decisions”

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. Continue reading “Guest Post | Hancock County Alliance for Good Government: 2014—-A Year of “Elections” and “Decisions””

Guest Post: Hancock County Alliance for Good Government October 2013 Newsletter

HANCOCK COUNTY ALLIANCE FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT OCTOBER 2013 NEWSLETTER

For those of you familiar with the Broadway musical, “Cabaret” the local, state, and national news is beginning to sound like a refrain from one of the shows numbers: “Money.” This past month has been a numbers game for those of us studying all of the figures.

For example there are $259,955 in delinquent utility bills in Bay St. Louis. Seven of these delinquent accounts were city employees until we published the list, then one paid. Shedding light can sometimes have positive results.

There is $187,000 delinquent utility bills in Waveland which includes a former Police Chief and Mayor. We hope these accounts can be cleaned up so the rest of us don’t have to continue to carry the burden because many on these lists are more than able to pay. And, it is only going to get worse now that both cities have increased rates. For those who just will not pay, there is a remedy, if our public officials will use it, and that’s cutting them off. They sure wouldn’t get by with this with Miss. Power, Coast Electric, or Cable TV. To review the complete lists of delinquent accounts go to Slabbed.org.

Thousands of parcels of property in Hancock County have been abandoned by the owners which results in a loss of ad valorem taxes when they are returned to the state. The latest hit to the ad valorem tax base in the county is the new formula for assessing taxes on the Section 42 and Section 8 housing complexes. According to Jimmie Ladner, this loss could fall in the laps of the rest of us to make up the difference. We may not like the news, but at least Jimmie will always tell it like it is. Continue reading “Guest Post: Hancock County Alliance for Good Government October 2013 Newsletter”

Egg Water Delinquents Part Two: A collaboration between Slabbed New Media and the Alliance for Good Government

Here is a sampling of some of the seriously overdue water bills per the following Aging report obtained from the City of Waveland by Lana Noonan of the Alliance for Good Government:

Habitat for Humanity—-$473.59
Ashman-Mollere–$689.75
Ronnie Artigues–$141.09
DaddyO’s—$68.26
James Varnell–$101.40
Cecilia Howe—$109.80
Oak Park Apartments- over $16,000
Gulfshore Properties–$39,763.46
Gulf Grove Apartments–$13,987.50

Click below to obtain the full 49 page aging as it includes other notables such as former Mayor Stella Frilot. Continue reading “Egg Water Delinquents Part Two: A collaboration between Slabbed New Media and the Alliance for Good Government”

Speaking of rapid fire, my hometown of Waveland has gone to hell in a hand basket.

My mind has been elsewhere this week folks but the numerous journalistic dispatches from the normally quiet, blue-collar town tell a tale of a town on the brink of insolvency.  I noted several things from the Sun Herald’s extensive reporting which began the week with news long time police chief Jimmy Varnell had been fired and ending with news that Waveland cut a huge number of city workers.

The reporting was good and Newsome is a good reporter but there are some question that need to be asked here:

1. How far behind is the City in their financial reporting?  This is the real problem despite the different picture painted for the public.  The fact expenses are exceeding income in the month of August is not a big surprise because it should.  Property taxes are paid in large sums in December, January and tapers off after that.  If this is a cash flow problem that implies the city has no financial reserves and if that is the case then someone is not doing their job at City Hall because surprises such as the one sprung this week means basic bookkeeping is not being done. That is the real story guys.  Now how far behind is that audit?

2. Were Tax Anticipation Loans considered?  I noted the local paper had over 30 pages of delinquent property taxes for Hancock County recently.  If property taxes were not realized in accordance with the City levy sent the tax collector the city is allowed to borrow the difference and assess a special levy to retire the debt.  I may have missed it in the reporting but it appears this was not discussed.

The backstories to the goings on in Waveland will prove interesting.  My family has known the Garcia and Varnell families literally going back to 1969 and Hurricane Camille.  It is a shame Jimmy’s employment ended in this way but the Mayor has the right to pick his own folks.  The Taser lawsuits are being cited but I also noted the Sea Coast Echo pulled their sensational reporting on same which included the phrase “nude and tased” in the lede.  If I was a cop and a known schitzo is called in to 911 with a claims he is toting a fire arm I may well be taser happy too.  I say that because you gotta know the people to understand why they were tased.

sop