Mayor says no shortfall for Bay
By Dwayne Bremer
Apr 25, 2014, 21:25
The Bay St. Louis City Council will hold a special meeting on May 6 at 3 p.m. to discuss concerns over an estimated $500,000 shortfall in projected city revenues for the current fiscal year.
Councilman-At-Large Mike Favre said Tuesday that he and Ward Six Councilman Lonnie Falgout have been researching the city's budget and discovered that the city's revenues have not been meeting projected numbers.
According to Favre and Falgout, revenues for sales tax, gaming, and ad valorem were down in the first six months of the fiscal year, which began in October.
The councilmen predicted that if the shortfalls continue, the city will face a $500,000 shortfall at the end of the fiscal year.
Favre asked that the city hold a special workshop on May 6 to discuss the budget.
"We want to be proactive and see what the numbers are," Favre said Friday. "We have been asking for a while. We need to know if we need to amend the budget and what is going on."
Mayor Les Fillingame, who had left Tuesday's meeting early to attend a funeral, said Friday that he will be happy to sit down with the council and show them the figures.
Fillingame admitted that some of the expected revenues are down, but he said expenses are down, too.
"There are always fluctuations with any budget," Fillingame said. "We constantly adjust our expenses according to the revenues."
Fillingame said the summer months are usually the best for sales taxes and gaming revenues, so he expects those numbers to equal, if not exceed, projected numbers this summer.
He said about 80 percent of property taxes have been received so far, but the city generally collects close to 100 percent by the time of the county tax sale in August. Fillingame said he feels that despite some projection shortfalls, the city is "in excellent" financial shape.
In other business, the council approved the new sign for the municipal harbor and heard from Harbor Fest promoter Mike Rosato.
Rosato said his group is still plans to host the festival in conjunction with the opening of the harbor some time in late July or early August.
Fillingame told the council--before he left the meeting--that he has asked police Chief Mike De Nardo to begin a criminal investigation regarding possible trespassing and vandalism incident at the city yard on Monday.
Fillingame said city officials recently installed surveillance cameras at the city yard after learning that individuals had been going into the area after hours.
The city yard, which is home to the city's public works fleet, is located behind city hall. The yard is open from 6:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The yard is accessible by the Main Street entrance, but it can also be accessed through a door at the back of the city council chambers which stays open until 5 p.m.
On Wednesday, workers installed signs on the door saying no unauthorized personnel are allowed in the city yard.
Fillingame said that on Monday, the cameras picked up two individuals going into the yard area at 4:22 p.m.
"The yard was closed and these two individuals were captured on the camera," Fillingame said. "One of them was a city representative and the other was a citizen. It appeared that the city representative left the area, leaving the citizen there alone. The citizen then, what appeared to be, tampered with some city vehicles."
Fillingame did not name the suspects, but said no matter what was going on, he felt it was not proper.
"If they wanted to go look at vehicles, we would have gladly made that available to them," he said. "This is a great concern. If nothing else, it is very malicious, maybe even criminal. We are going to get to the bottom of it."