That’s right folks Pascagoula Mayor Dane Maxwell was telling a whopper or two about where he lived when he was elected Mayor or he has swindled the Harrison County tax collector. Let’s take a trip back to early 2017 when the topic of Dane Maxwell’s residency first surfaced:
Questions arose on social media last week about Pascagoula mayoral candidate Dane Maxwell and his residency.
The Mississippi Press received a tip about the residency issue, accompanied with screenshots showing Maxwell’s Biloxi address and his being registered to vote in Harrison County. The Mississippi Press spoke with Maxwell, who addressed the questions on Thursday.
“You want to know if I am a Pascagoula resident. Yes, I am a resident of Pascagoula,” said Maxwell, a Republican. “I lay my head every night at the Scranton condos in Pascagoula on the corner of Martin and Ingalls Avenue. I have a lease there and signed it late last year. I own 10 and a half acres of land on 11th Street, and we just completed a small shed and big shop there. I currently have the house plans with me, now that we have finished.”
So in late 2016 Maxwell signed a lease on a condo with the full intent of becoming a resident of the City of Pascagoula in order to run for Mayor. What was Maxwell’s obligation with regard to his existing homestead exemption? Here is what the state tax regulations say:
Before the exemption can be allowed, the applicant must make a written application between January 1 and April 1 of the year in which the exemption is sought. The applicant alone is responsible for making the application. He is required to furnish all information required by the application. It must be complete, true, and correct. It is the responsibility of the applicant to complete the information required within the application. It is entirely his document. It is his sole responsibility. The applicant’s responsibility does not end until the entire application (the original, duplicate, triplicate and quadruplicate copies) has been delivered to the Tax Assessor on or before April 1. The quadruplicate copy is to be signed and dated by the Tax Assessor or his deputy, marked “filed” and returned to the applicant. If a change in the homestead or the applicant’s status occurred since January 1 of the previous year, a new application must be filed between January 1 and April 1.
How do we know that Maxwell claimed Homestead exemption in Harrison County? Simple folks the tax records are online right here:
Here is a screen capture of the link: Continue reading “He may have been Mayor of Pascagoula since mid 2017 but he claimed Homestead Exemption in Harrison County until 2019”
Time is short folks but this latest turn of events bears mentioning as Tuesday’s meeting has now made the news both on WLOX and the Sun Herald. The quote WLOX snagged from retiring Police Chief/new City Manager Kenny Johnson sets things up nicely:
“I think the council stepped up and showed confidence in me to lead not only the police department but to lead the entire city,” Johnson said. “I want to make sure that things are done properly, that we’re running like we’re supposed to run, we’re working within the perimeters of our form of government and make sure that happens moving forward before someone else is appointed to take my place.”
Slabbed corresponded with a member of the audience associated with the Speak Up Pascagoula Facebook page who indicated exactly what Margaret Baker wrote for the Sun Herald that Mayor Dane tried his hand at forcing out the Chief along with two other officers and ended up getting the chief promoted to City Manager. In this type of Mississippi home rule charter the Mayor is essentially the chief councilman at large with ceremonial duties and one vote (not to be confused with the Mayor Alderman “Weak Mayor” form of home rule). Without a council majority Maxwell has been neutered as a political force in Pascagoula.
No meeting account would be complete without a show of bad sportsmanship and according to the Citizen that wrote to Slabbed the award for that would go to Mayor Dane’s wife, who evidently did not react well to the vote to install Johnson as City Manager.
Folks there has been a lot lacking in Mayor Dane’s performance as a politician in his hometown. Maybe that is why he is running for Southern District PSC. The people that know him best there in Pascagoula will be the first to tell you he is no bargain as a politician.
Slabbed will be having a bit more on the Southern District PSC race very soon.
The Hancock County Republican Women delivered a great event for the voters in Hancock County last night at the Diamondhead City Hall presenting the Republican candidates for office for the August 6, primaries and November General Election, for those who survive August.
The format was very good; the questions were very good, and you just can’t be Joe Gex as a moderator. The only thing lacking was pre-event publicity. So, we’ll do some post-event coverage today.
For the most part the State Officials sent representatives to speak on their behalf. The State level candidates appearing to speak for themselves were:
Public Service Commissioner:
Dane Maxwell, current Mayor of Pascagoula, who said his number one promise to the voters would be to incarcerate all RoBo callers. Maxwell pointed out that he took the lead in DC on the Miss. flooding issue meeting with the Corps of Engineers. He said that he is also the only candidate who has ever actually worked with the PSC.
Kelvin Schultz said if he is elected to PSC, his first priority would be to establish a full time Complaint Department because his experience has been that PSC does not return phone calls or take any interest in the needs of the people they are supposed to be serving. He would also do everything he could to monitor and keep down rates for the public.
The two candidates speaking on their own behalf for Transportation Commissioner, Southern District, were Tom King (I) and Tony Smith. Continue reading “Lana Noonan | Hancock Republican Women Sponsored a Statewide Candidate Forum”
I do not have a ton of extra time today to write a more comprehensive post on this topic but is the State Auditor’s repayment demand related to the City of Pascagoula designed to help get Mayor Dane Maxwell a seat on the PSC? In my opinion the answer is clearly yes because both the City and Shad White stopped way short on going after all of the culpable parties such as the audit firm which evidently never bothered to read the bond covenants to test compliance with same, to name one such party. Heck, Mayor Dane even re-hired the audit firm, which evidently uses the three wise monkeys method of auditing so they were actually rewarded here.
The fact that the co-mingling of bond money into the general fund didn’t end until Mayor Dane ran up over $9 million of the accumulated deficit should not be lost on anyone. None of that excuses the actions of Maxwell’s predecessors Joe Huffman and Bobby Parker but Shad White’s office stopped far short here. I’d submit that Maxwell is a cesspool politician of the type that White would do well to keep an eye on rather than assist.
Maxwell is opposed by Kelvin Schulz on the GOP side for Southern District PSC. Based on his June campaign finance report, Schulz does not appear to be a serious candidate. Former Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran and Sugar Stallings are battling on the Democratic side.
This is one of those you can leave the political party out of it because anyone who vote for this guy after what he did to Pascagoula can only have their head completely stuck up their own asses. [For those interested in knowing what Maxwell’s dad did to the folks in Vancleave click here.]
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”