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.