Bay increases utility rates
Aug 28, 2013, 14:10
By Cassandra Favre
At Monday's Bay St. Louis city council meeting, city officials approved utility rate increases and heard from non-profits that benefit monetarily from the city.
The new utility rates will take effect October 1.
"Our minimum bill now is $29 and we are going to $35," Ward Five Councilman Joey Boudin said. "This is what we have to do the balance the utility budget and create our reserve."
Representatives from local non-profits pleaded their specific needs to the council.
Non-profit officials were asked to present their budgets to council members which included personnel, grants and revenues if any.
President of the Bay-Waveland garden club Christina Richardson said that the club uses the building once a month for about a couple of hours for board meetings valuing their in kind at about $150. The city rents out their buildings for $75 an hour.
Executive Director of the Boys and Girls club Gulf Coast David Sykes thanked the city for their support year after year.
"We have been drawing down on reserves at a fast clip," said Sykes. "We are looking very hard into increasing our revenues."
The city's school building is available to the club in kind.
Sykes said they receive no help from Waveland or Diamondhead and they serve children throughout Hancock County.
Representing the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce was board member Chet Harrison of Hollywood Casino and board President Clay Wagner of Hancock Bank.
The city leases the old city hall building on Court Street in kind to the chamber.
"We asked to see payroll costs," Boudin said.
"We asked for personnel costs, I didn't ask for specific payroll breakdown," Mayor Les Fillingame said.
"We are not going to breakdown individual pay for our employees in a public setting like this," Wagner said. "We do a survey of other municipalities to see what they are paying their employees so that we can compete."
"We can't fault you for not having if it wasn't requested," said Boudin.
"I don't think we need to know every person's pay that works at the non-profits," Ward Two Councilwoman Wendy McDonald said. "We are interested in their overall budget, not their salaries."
Representing the Hancock County Human Resources Agency was Executive Director Lora Mederos.
The agency is responsible for five childcare centers and the senior program center on Bookter Street, which the city sponsors.
"We also offer transportation services for the senior program and home delivered meals," Mederos said.
Mederos valued their in kind to be $32,000 but said,"this number is a few years old and probably should be updated."
Representing the Hancock County Library System was Dolly Lumberg, president of the board of trustees; Courtney Thomas, interim director and Mary Perkins, public relations.
"2.75 is the dedicated millage to the library," Perkins said.
"The money you give funds the public service areas, we don't use any of your money to fund the back," Thomas said.
"This is a city/county building and the front part which is the public service area is the city's and the county handles the administration and their salaries, cataloging and ordering the books and processing for everybody," Perkins said.
Manager Myrna Green spoke on behalf of the Hancock County Tourism Development Bureau.
"Last year we served 6,592 and this year just through August we have served 18,896," Green said.
Located in the train depot, the bureau is also home to the Alice Moseley and Mardi Gras museum.
"The city does donate money and gives us a home and that's all we are asking for," Green said.
Lisa Wilbourn with the Gulf Coast Women's Center for Non-Violence attended to ask the city for contributions.
"We used to receive funds from the city before Hurricane Katrina," Wilbourn said. "State law requires us to show 25% in local funding."
Wilbourn said that the center provides emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and 50 out of 164 served have been from Bay St. Louis.
Ray Cox from the Babe Ruth league and Katy Aime from the Dixie girls attended last night's meeting.
The leagues use Bay St. Louis sports complex for games and tournaments.
The Babe Ruth league requested more help on the weekend especially during tournaments.
Aime asked for the city to consider paying for the background checks on coaches.
"Most coastal cities do pay for background checks," Aime said.
In other action:
Councilmen approved the appointment of members to the Harbor Commission.
JP Compretta will serve as the interim chair and will serve a three-year term. Also serving three-year terms will be Lee Seal and Ken Barber. Two-year term members are Chuck Lefleur and Chet LeBlanc. One-year term members are Chris Roth and Rod Ward. The alternates are John Scafidi and Mike Hemsley.
The Advisory Committee will be comprised of James Johnson, Robert Castoro, John