Slabbed has been keeping one eye peeled on the machinations in Pascagoula, where property taxes are set to increase a whopping 34%, to make up for the financial mismanagement of the current administrations ($9 million of the $14 million dollar total deficit in 1 year) and the prior administration ($6 million of the $14 million dollar deficit over 4 years).
For those catching up, current Mayor Maxwell dropped the budgetary bombshell in late July and blamed a bookkeeper and the former Mayor for the $14 million dollar deficit. Slabbed was the first media outlet to call BS and for good reason as the math didn’t add up the way Mayor Maxwell claimed. Soon the forensic audit report was made public and the more traditional media outlets caught on quickly. Here is the evolution of Tyler Carter’s coverage for the Mississippi Press:
Budget numbers show overspending may be to blame for Pascagoula deficit
Reports show current Pascagoula city leaders have overspent by $9 million
Now for the more recent stories, which are very good, the first containing a nice summary of the events that got the City to a very bad spot:
Pascagoula was nearly broke in 2015, according to forensic audit
It was pretty clear to me that the first set of budget cuts Maxwell announced was little more than window dressing on the administration’s part. Buried in the pre-labor day holiday “bad news Friday” news cycle was this informational nugget: Continue reading “And now its time for a Pascagoula Financial Disaster Update……”
It would help if Mayor Dane would whip the other City Council persons in line so they could keep a consistent story:
This comes after Mayor Maxwell revealed last week the city is facing a $14 million budget deficit, and that the city and state are reviewing spending from 2012-2017. The city has already turned over financial records to the State Auditor.
“The misconception out there in the social media world is that we should have known this coming in,” the mayor said.
Maxwell took office in July. The budget had to be adopted by October. He said the city passed a budget based on the current numbers.
Bless their hearts this is what Councilman Scott Tipton told Karen Nelson:
It was a common practice in years past to move money from the utility fund into the general fund to balance the budget, Councilman Scott Tipton said Wednesday.
The only reason it wasn’t done in the last two years is that, “there was no money left in there to do it,” Tipton said.
So who are we to believe, Mayor Dane who claims not to have a clue but who had the September 30, 2016 audit which showed the general fund was broke waiting for him when he assumed office in July, 2017. Mayor Dane actually submitted the audit which showed the general fund was broke to the Office of the State Auditor in October, 2017. Or should we believe the City Councilman that just admitted raiding the Utility fund for years until it ran out of money. The financial mismanagement here crosses into the realm of malfeasance IMHO folks because Mayor Dane and Councilman Tipton were clearly mining money from the lemonade spring area of Big Rock Candy mountain. Continue reading “Bless Their Poor Hearts, Which Suddenly Now Thirst for Knowledge”
Folks, I thought Mayor Dane and his band of Trumpies had all the answers. Maybe he should have been paying attention to the City’s checkbook instead of grandstanding for headlines in the press last December because the topic of the City being broke should have been publicly discussed way before now:
Independent audit reveals City of Pascagoula faces $14 million deficit ~` Tyler Carter
The story is instructive in the respect that Carter recounted the events Joe Friday style but as you’ll learn reading this post, when the City Attorney is involved in ‘splaining the annual audit, there is going to be a certain level of dishonesty bandied about because it taketh not a lawyer to explain numbers, though lawyers can certainly spin them. Here is an example of some of the bigger whoppers told a few days back:
The auditor and council agrees that this was not an issue from the previous council, but an issue spanning multiple past administrations.
Per the audit reports on file at the Office of the State Auditor there was $4.5 million dollars cash in the General Fund at September 30, 2015 and the General Fund was owed $5.3 million by other City Funds. By September 30, 2016 the City’s General Fund had no cash and was owed a whopping $14.2 million by other City Funds. The General Fund also owed other funds $8.861 million in money it had taken from them in the City pooled bank account.
Anyone with half a brain, including those who purport to be the City’s leaders that balance their own checkbooks could recognize the red flags. The audit report, dated June 29, 2017 was certainly a rude gift to the new City Council and Mayor but the City’s bleak financial picture was certainly no secret. According to the date stamp by the Office of the State Auditor the 2016 annual audit was received by them on October 3, 2017, which means the audit was submitted over 3 months late. I did a cursory search of the Mississippi Press’ on line story archive and do not see a story about the presentation of the 2016 audit to the City Council but I did find a few nuggets: Continue reading “About Pascagoula Being Broke and The Copious Amount of BS Being Bandied About by Mayor Maxwell”