Note: Councilman Joey Boudin’s comments were posted here yesterday.
Even though I agree with Councilman Boudin’s overall assessment in his email yesterday, I would like to give a oversight of my thinking and research thus far. My recommendations are not complete for various reasons, but listed below are some I would like to share.
1.” Amend budget… formalize Mayor’s changes” : handwritten, moving figures, eliminating a debt payment, “shifting a non-compliant Line of Credit” to a debt (serious State Statute concern here), still having $52K in invoices back from Feb.2014 not paid (non-compliant again), having $1.9 million still needed just to make payroll and associated costs thru Sept. 2014 fiscal year and not having received a final audit for 2013 is a red flag still to me. The buying, signing and financing a fire truck now in 2013/14’s budget but NOT start paying its note till fiscal 2014/15 needs to be defined in this budget. Question: where is the $47K from fire ins. proceeds and add’tl $13K we budgeted for the truck THIS year. Shouldn’t we “earmark it” now and reserve to pay first note in 2014/15. I didn’t see this in “handwritten notes”.
Numbers 1 thru 6 and 10, in my opinion, should be DONE in a workshop ASAP. In addition a 9.5 to 12% cut in expenses where ever possible should be made ASAP.
Number 9: Agree, goes hand in hand with 1 thru 6…….. this position requires constant attention, monitoring and adjusting from State laws to the changing of Bay St. Louis’ economic climate. Please review official audit reports from 2011, 12 and draft for 2013. Details, changes and compliance needed is clearly outlined by our auditors. All municipalities on Ms. Gulf Coast from Waveland to Pascagoula employ a full time City Clerk and or City Manager.
Number 7: Solicit Chamber of Commerce’s possible intention now. Appraise it, sell it, earmark proceeds for essential 2014/15 and or reserve use. Get out from insurance, maintenance and rental business for a non-historical site.
Without hesitation, but with much research done, I will not support financing capital improvements (including MY Ward) until we WORK our way out of this present day crisis. The City needs to look closely at restructuring costs, positions, needs, and the way we presently operate, bring in specialists from AMR; Court; Utilities; Public Works advisory companies etc., to assist us in becoming more efficient. Debt on top of debt, with NEW debt is not my answer to the citizens of BSL.
Form a Council committee to formalize, review and recommend needed capital improvement projects. Fund and find an aggressive economic plan to lure grants, new businesses and other tourist related endeavors to improve tax bases.
I would like to have a Council workshop on Wednesday, May 28 at 6:00 pm to further discuss these issues before the Council meeting on June 3.
These are a few thoughts. I’m still breaking down the city’s monthly and annual debts to hopefully arrive at a plan that will begin to solve the problem. Short term refinancing sometimes helps, refi short time remaining debts to long term, doesn’t make sense here! More later……..