As a young auditor I learned very quickly that one thing governing boards dislike more than anything else is “Emergency” special called meetings. Along those lines we get a flavor from Cassandra Favre’s article on yesterday’s Bay Council emergency meeting that the Council was not very happy and for good reason. To set things up Cruising the Coast is in full swing with the Old Town section of the City jam packed with classic cars and people. If there is such a thing as a good time to call a City Council meeting, the Thursday – Saturday stretch of Cruising the Coast would be off limits yet that is exactly what the Mayor asked the Council to do, three days after a regular meeting, so the City could make its next payroll. The meeting was not streamed by Jerry Beaugez of Mayor Fillingame’s Administration as neither attended the meeting which the Mayor asked to be called. The lack of a live stream and the conspicuous absences appears to be an exercise in trying to hide the fact the City does not have enough of a general fund balance to make its first payroll of the fiscal year. Here is a snippet:
“You’re – in essence – healthy,” Bobby Culumber, of Gulfport-based CPA firm Culumber, Harvey & Associates, told council members at a workshop meeting on Thursday.
Oops, sorry folks, wrong
meeting workshop. Here is a snippet from Cassandra’s story:
Falgout asked Gonzales to explain the need for this loan.
During budget workshops, Gonzales said she and the council had discussions about the estimated ending cash balance for the general fund, which she had planned as zero, because the budget was very close, she said.
“We ended up with about $34,000 in the bank account at the end of September going into our Oct. 1 date,” Gonzales said. “On the Sept. 29 meeting when we adopted the budget, I informed you that I felt it would be necessary to have a cash-flow loan between October through January until we started getting those tax revenues coming in. We virtually get hardly any from October through December.”
Gonzales said she intended to bring the matter up at the Oct. 4 meeting, but she was unable to attend.
Gonzales said the city is going to immediately need $84,000 to meet next week’s payroll, which will be disbursed on Oct. 14.
Not counted in these numbers is the fact the City’s General Fund still owes the Utility fund over $80,000 and was unable to clear it at fiscal year end due to a lack of cash (and fund balance) in the General Fund.
Speaking of money, the fee for the new City Attorney was a much discussed topic at the Tuesday regular meeting. New City Attorney Trent Favre sounded almost apologetic for his bill but the fact of the matter is the guy busted his ass with the added bonus of hiring on right when all hell was beginning to break loose in the Police Department and Chief Denardo’s suicide. My own attitude is make hay while the sun shines. Meantime Councilman Doug Seal hints at the price of having a unqualified Mayoral crony as the perpetually interim head of the Building Department:
Councilman Doug Seal said he thinks the council relies too heavily on its professional service providers.
“That’s not what they’re for,” Seal said. “They should not be in the day-to-day operations of the city of Bay St. Louis. Our engineer should not be in the day-to-day operations of Bay St. Louis. That’s where we’re spending crazy money. We have people within the administration to do these small and mundane things. You should not have to be in a building department meeting. Once we get sued, then you can be in a building department meeting.”
Favre said the council’s biggest “hemorrhage” is the building department because he is receiving numerous calls.
Seal is dreaming if he thinks the Council relies too much on its professionals as quoted above because the Council should have nothing to do with the day to day operations of the City. Maybe the Mayor uses too much in the way of professional services but I do not see how the Council relies too heavily on its City Attorney. After all it’s only been two months since they began to get consistent legal advice.
Meantime the City still has several investigative agencies pouring over several aspects of Municipal operations and tomorrow we’ll examine a couple of areas with columns of proverbial billowing smoke pouring out. Stay tuned.