Mosquito Control Contract Monitoring is Complete and on Today’s Supervisors Meeting Agenda

Trixie was nice enough to post the live stream link for us in comments. Lana Noonan is there and she indicates Board President Blaine Lafontaine is not in attendance today. The following contract compliance evaluation was obtained for Slabbed by Lana Noonan:

Hancock County Board of Supervisors via Lana Noonan
Hancock County Board of Supervisors via Lana Noonan

County to State Senator Phillip Moran: Tighten up on Mosquito Control…..(Updated)

Earlier this month County Administrator Eddie Favre sent the following letter to Phillip’s Pest Control.

Eddie Favre Letter to Philip Moran by Slabbed on Scribd

Update

Here is the letter Mayor Mike Smith sent to the County on Mosquito Control Continue reading “County to State Senator Phillip Moran: Tighten up on Mosquito Control…..(Updated)”

No good deed goes unpunished but what about the bad ones?

Sheriff Adam Fund Raiser using County EMS Tent | Reader submitted photo
Sheriff Adam Fund Raiser using County EMS Tent | Reader submitted photo

On the use of the Emergency Management Dept. tent by Kendra Necaise for her campaign fund raiser [constitutes an] “improper use of county assets”, as State Auditor’s office said 2 weeks ago. It seems like there are 2 or more County employees and one elected official that were involved in this situation. The employees are subject to disciplinary action by the Supervisors as per the Employee Handbook. The elected officials actions could be brought to the attention of either the State Ethics Commission or State Auditor’s Office. (Edited for clarity}

Being as this is an election year I imagine people have already complained about certain candidates use of the County EMS tent and allegedly trustee labor for their political fund raisers up to Jackson. Pictured above is from Sheriff Adam’s campaign event.

As far as those signs the Rotary club bought and installed without collaborating with the County:

Supervisors voted unanimously to have Bay St. Louis Rotary Club be given notice that the bottom of their signs which advertise their personal, for profit businesses have to be removed. The public information on keeping the beaches clean is okay. The removal has to be done by this Friday, April 19, or County Road Administrator’s beach crew will remove them.

Ultimately a couple of wrenches will solve this problem. Slabbed has no problem memorializing those that made the signs possible so following are some pictures of them taken recently on a gorgeous spring day earlier this month for our out of town readers. Continue reading “No good deed goes unpunished but what about the bad ones?”

Comment Bump: Sheriff, Other County officials using County Equipment, Inmate Labor for Partisan Political Campaign Events

I guess the question I have is since Sheriff Adam has done it for one candidate are we going to empty the jail for every candidate’s campaign parties. Maybe the County could have the inmates go place signs out and knock doors too.

The optics look worse than terrible here, what in the hell are they thinking?

Start with Brandon’s comment here and work your way down.

Meantime the Bay City Clowncil is evidently giving permission to put signs up on property that is not within the City’s jurisdiction to permit.

Slabbed has pictures of both the County tent and the offending signs that I’ll try to post later.

Why Hancock County Can’t Afford Nice Things Part 3: Sups Refuse to Hold Tax Collector Accountable

Reader Submitted Photo of Front Gate of the Bay Waveland Yacht Club
Reader Submitted Photo of Front Gate of the Bay Waveland Yacht Club

Paul Hampton’s take on the Yacht Club tax exemptions is worth reading because it tells the story of two tax collectors, Tal Flurry and Jimmie Ladner. For lack of a better term the wordsmithing was artful but it is also clear Flurry reads past the comma in the tax exemption statute:

Pass Christian, he said, is chartered as a for-profit business. Biloxi’s clubhouse is exempt but its marina, where it has slips for rent is on the tax rolls.

Lana Noonan suggested in comments that Ladner get a seeing eye dog pronto because he is fooling no one following this story:

The Biloxi Yacht Club officials get it. They pay taxes on their Marina because, as he said, “we receive revenue on the Marina slip rentals.” I like Jimmie personally, but does he need a seeing eye dog? Read past the comma on that statute. In fact, Jimmie said to the Sun Herald, “do we want public officials who interpret the law anyway they want?” No, Jimmie, but that is what we have right now. Allowing the poor to subsidize your fun is about as low as it gets.

For the taxpayers in Hancock County this is a simple matter of fairness. Continue reading “Why Hancock County Can’t Afford Nice Things Part 3: Sups Refuse to Hold Tax Collector Accountable”

Why Hancock County Can’t Afford Nice Things Part 2: Back Room Deals, Lack of Sunshine

Reader Submitted Photo of Front Gate of the Bay Waveland Yacht Club
Reader Submitted Photo of Front Gate of the Bay Waveland Yacht Club

It is safe to say the Yacht Club’s tax exemption has reverberated around the county a time or two so now it’s time we put everything together and illustrate both how the process under which tax exemption was given is fatally flawed, lacking any semblance of transparency and what the elected officials can do to fix it.

There has been lots of information posted already and then Geoff Belcher’s article for the Sea Coast Echo proved as an invaluable resource because the players behind the events made on the record comments. First things is to emphasize the update to the first post because we did get a fact wrong and the correct facts need to be emphasized:

Slabbed has been contacted by the Department of Revenue in response to communications from Jimmie Ladner’s office. Jeff Foreman of MDOR indicated this this type of tax exemption does not require MDOR approval:

As I understand from ……. below, the Bay Waveland Yacht Club is claiming exemption as a “perpetual or fraternal and benevolent organization”. As you have already established in this thread, such an exemption is clearly authorized under Miss. Code Ann. Section 27-31-1(d). Under current Mississippi law, case law and guidance from the Mississippi Attorney General, the duty to determine eligibility for such an exemption lies solely with the county. The Department of Revenue plays no role in the approval of such exemptions and, as such, there is no requirement for any information regarding such exemptions to be filed with the Department.

The takeaway from Mr. Foreman’s very important clarification needs highlighting because it drives the inescapable logic that follows:

Under current Mississippi law, case law and guidance from the Mississippi Attorney General, the duty to determine eligibility for such an exemption lies solely with the county.

Mr. Foreman’s word are precise and he didn’t say the duty to determine eligibility for such an exemption lies solely with the tax assessor/collector, rather he was referencing the County Board of Supervisors and the Tax Collector. Lana Noonan of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government asked the follow-up question to confirm with Mr. Foreman his very precise remarks. This is what he said: Continue reading “Why Hancock County Can’t Afford Nice Things Part 2: Back Room Deals, Lack of Sunshine”

City Attorney Favre to meet with County Attorney Yarborough to hash out Library Inter-local

Those that watched the live stream of last week’s Bay City Council meeting already knew the score. The rest got the usual comprehensive account from Cassandra Favre over at the Echo. Using Cassandra as our primary source let’s imagine we’re a fly on the wall when the City Attorney meets the County Attorney and we get to hear Trent Favre’s talking points, as told by City officials at the last meeting:

“I don’t believe we need to fix something that’s not broke”…

“We have a bigger stake in this,” he said. “The county made mention that they had three libraries out there. Well, their three libraries look like little mom and pop shops. We got super Walmart.

Continue reading “City Attorney Favre to meet with County Attorney Yarborough to hash out Library Inter-local”

Analysis | Definitive Account: “Supervisors finalize their end of new HCLS library agreement”

Dwayne Bremer was at Hancock Board of Sups meeting, which was dominated by Hancock County Library system Executive Director Courtney Thomas raising a ruckus over the proposed new inter-local agreement because it gives the County, the system’s largest financial contributor by far, a majority of the new Library Board seats. Ms. Thomas currently has a “handpicked board” per Ward 6 Bay St Louis Councilman Josh Desalvo at Tuesday’s Council meeting. That pretty much sums up the crux of the controversy with speculation running rampant that the reason Executive Director Thomas is acting out so is because she fears for her job. Meantime the clock is ticking per Dwayne’s story:

A few months ago, supervisors voted to opt out of the current agreement, saying — among other things — that the current agreement is out-dated and unfair to the county.

If a new deal is not reached by Sept. 30, the county would no longer provide funding for the library system.

The original inter-local agreement that created the library system is about 25 years old and does not include the city of Diamondhead and its library.

This gets me to Tuesday’s Council meeting. At an earlier Supervisor meeting both Councilmen Reed and Seal asked the Sups to reconsider opting out of the current library inter-local but that request to kick the can never stood a chance. The issue of Library over staffing has put a strain on the relationship between the last 2 Boards of Sups and the current library Board.  It has popped in and out of the news cycle for the last three years including Thomas closing the Diamondhead branch for a brief time before the last election, an act that from outward appearances was designed to show the Sups who was Boss and that gets me to this snippet on who contributes what to the current inter-local: Continue reading “Analysis | Definitive Account: “Supervisors finalize their end of new HCLS library agreement””

Other Voices | Lana Noonan: Hancock County Budget Season Update

It’s difficult to tell where to begin when it comes to Budget Season with our local entities. The number crunching has begun, and the departmental wish lists are presenting major financial challenges for our local officials.

Let’s begin with the City of Bay St. Louis. The seven guys on the City Council are working hard to get their budget together for the upcoming fiscal year of 2017-2018.

One little kink in the wheel that must be resolved sooner rather than later is WHERE IS THE 2016 AUDIT??????? Kind of hard to formulate a budget until you examine your auditor’s candid verdict on your books of account for the past fiscal year. The Auditor, Bobby Culumber, is MIA. They had better find him pretty soon. I think the audit was due on June 30, 2017 which would have given the City Council ample time before budget workshops to identify and confront their monetary issues and prioritize them.

Moving right along, the issues that have been discussed at the last two budget workshops are:

1. Going out for bids on the city’s insurance which is due to renew in Feb. or March of 2018.

2. On this same subject, since Council does not approve benefits for part time employees, they should also remove themselves from this benefit. Their position does not require them to spend every day at City Hall. ALL OF OUR PUBLIC ENTITIES SHOULD ELIMINATE THIS FROM THEIR BUDGETS. THINK OF THE MONEY WE WOULD SAVE.

3. Supporting the continued presence of a Tourism Office in Hancock County and lending financial support. Councilman DeSalvo also wants to solicit support from the Downtown Merchants since they benefit the most from Tourism events such as Cruisin’ the Coast. Continue reading “Other Voices | Lana Noonan: Hancock County Budget Season Update”

A County Apart: Hancock Sups talk dissolving Hancock Solid Waste, gets push back from all the likely political interests

There’s too many pigs for the teats ~ Abraham Lincoln (As quoted by Shelby Foote in Ken Burns The Civil War)

Last month Slabbed took a look at the Hancock County Solid Waste Authority Budget as it was topical in political circles locally and sure enough on July 17th the County Board of Supervisors opened discussion about the future of the authority which is, with the possibility of one exception, unique in the State of Mississippi. Neighboring Harrison County for instance uses interlocal agreements for trash collection as administered by the Utility Authority, another local political subdivision that exists in most every county in the state including Hancock County. Put in simpler terms Hancock County is an outlier in having a separate layer of government to administer the trash collection contracts. That layer of government costs extra money to maintain and that is why the Board of Sups is looking at eliminating the Authority.

Before I get to Dwayne Bremer’s account of that portion of the July 2017 Supervisor meeting the following has to be set up. A frequent criticism I get at Slabbed from those readers that are not from this immediate area is that Slabbed writes “too much to the inside” and what that means is there are often important contextual details that are assumed in the narrative rather than being disclosed in the narrative. A reader in Jackson needs that context to truly understand what is happening and there is a whole line of books that goes by the title “insert name” for Dummies. So along those lines this post is Hancock County Solid Waste Authority for Dummies so everyone will understand, not just the locals.

Similarly the local paper which is written for a local audience often writes to the inside for the same reason.  For instance why disclose that local tax collector Jimmy Ladner is the Solid Waste Board’s Attorney’s Father when virtually everyone locally knows that fact?  Ladner himself prefaced his remarks on that relationship according to Lana Noonan and several other meeting attendees that spoke with Slabbed real time during the meeting.  But it is that bit of context that gets us to Dwayne’s story: Continue reading “A County Apart: Hancock Sups talk dissolving Hancock Solid Waste, gets push back from all the likely political interests”