Ocean Springs city budget moves further into the red

Nov 28, 2012 Full story: The Mississippi Press 15

City aldermen were advised last week that only two months into the current fiscal year Ocean Springs is already facing a $200,000 budget deficit.

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OS Watcher

Ocean Springs, MS

#1 Nov 28, 2012
This is no secret. Alderman have been telling us for months that the city is in bad financial shape. Some wanted to raise your taxes. Others wanted to stop wasteful spending. The Mayor acts like nothing is wrong. The city has no cash balance and less than 1 months reserve in emergncy funds. Wake up and pay attention. Ths is really happening and the Mayor is taking no responsibility. The Aldermen had to create a sub-committee to oversee spending because of the Mayor's inability o control spending. As a former employee who served the city for many years under several other adinistrations, this is as bad as I have ever seen.
Just the Facts

Gulfport, MS

#2 Nov 29, 2012
Neither the mayor nor any department head can expend funds that are not already approved by the Board of Aldermen in the budget. The "committee" simply reviews special expenditure requests that are not already budgeted.

In the article the city clerk states that the projected budget shortfall is due to the lawsuit expenses regarding the Psycamore (sp?) and East Beach sidewalk litigation and utilities. Also Alderman Dalgo says it is too early to project a full year's revenues/expenses based on the first two months of the fiscal year. Much of the budgeted revenue stream does not even start coming in until later in the fiscal year.
OS Watcher

Ocean Springs, MS

#3 Nov 29, 2012
Just the facts needs to check his facts. Ask any member of the commitee why the committee was formed and you will find it is because of the Mayor's out of control spending. If you take the time to ask, they will tell you. Ask the city clerk how much she has in reserve funds to run the city. You will find it is less than 1 months payoll. These are facts. You can spin it anyway you want, but the Mayor is the day to day person that has overseen the demise of several million dollars that the city had in reserves. No raises for city employees in 4 years while she was worried about her raise. Just the facts.
Fort Bayou Girl

Gulfport, MS

#4 Nov 30, 2012
Speaking of East Beach/Front Beach lawsuits. I think the Judge just entered his opinion on that... those people (not the taxpayers) own the beaches. I'm talking a recent decision, like within the past day or so. Just hasn't hit the media yet. Watch for it....
Just the Facts

Nashville, TN

#5 Nov 30, 2012
The Board of Aldermen votes to approve the budget of each department head each fiscal year. The Mayor does not even vote. The Mayor can only expend what was approved by the Board in the Mayor's Department budget, which is tiny compared to other departments. The Mayor does not expend funds in other departments. Any projects funded are approved by the Board. No changes can be made to the budget without Board approval. So it is a misnomer to suggest the "committee" was formed to keep in check "out of control" spending, since the Board has already approved the line items in the budget. No one can spend more than the Board of Aldermen approved in the budget. Period.
OS Watcher

Ocean Springs, MS

#6 Dec 2, 2012
Just the facts needs to just check with the members of the review committee. He might get his facts adjusted.
Hmmm

Ocean Springs, MS

#7 Dec 2, 2012
Who cares. At least we have a bunch of walking tracks..... Some people need to run!
TruthDoctor

Ocean Springs, MS

#8 Dec 9, 2012
Moran must go and McKay can't be alllowed to feed his ego by being elected!
gulf

Moss Point, MS

#9 Dec 9, 2012
OS Watcher wrote:
This is no secret. Alderman have been telling us for months that the city is in bad financial shape. Some wanted to raise your taxes. Others wanted to stop wasteful spending. The Mayor acts like nothing is wrong. The city has no cash balance and less than 1 months reserve in emergncy funds. Wake up and pay attention. Ths is really happening and the Mayor is taking no responsibility. The Aldermen had to create a sub-committee to oversee spending because of the Mayor's inability o control spending. As a former employee who served the city for many years under several other adinistrations, this is as bad as I have ever seen.
As a former OS resident & somebody who likes the city I think this is sad. I'm not going to take sides as it isn't my fight but let me say this -- shit costs money. When you issue a bunch of bonds -- you have to cut back in future spending to compensate for the largess you have now, pretty much common sense.

Did they REALLY need to put a big gaudy police station on the east side of town just to collect ticket revenue? Wasn't the fire station on Deena Rd just as good as the one they have now? And considering they already have 2 other stations, one by Wendy's & one behind KFC -- what was the pt. exactly?

Interest on the bonds to pay for that dump are gonna put the city's budget into the bad for years to come. And didn't they dump bonds too to pay for that new stupid soccer complex or sports complex or whatever it is over off Highway 57?

How much debt have they issued exactly to pay for all that & for all the goofy downtown things? I've also read that the city now actually refuses to provide free fire or police or trash cleanup services for parades & festivals -- people have to pay for those on their own now.

I agree with you -- the economy is much worse than ppl are letting on. They're issuing a lot of debt & spending it to make themselves feel good in the short term. Usually when you have small subtle things like that -- where the city stops providing free services to festivals & then things like getting rid of the planning dept -- that sorta stuff -- usually that's an indicator that you're about to go off some kind of no pun intended but a 'fiscal cliff' or economic cliff or whatever term you wish to use.

If they're cutting police services for public events & raising "fees" & getting rid of entire depts or cutting depts -- that means they're gonna be laying off cops, firemen, etc next.

Its all downhill from here. Just wait until the shipyard shuts down in a decade or less -- then the fun starts. Then tax receipts collapse almost entirely....

Those big ass bonds they issued though -- they won't go away. You'll be paying interest on them for years.And if interest rates spike for some reason -- the city may have to default. Not a pretty business.

But good luck to the city in tackling their problems.
gulf

Moss Point, MS

#10 Dec 9, 2012
OS Watcher wrote:
Just the facts needs to check his facts. Ask any member of the commitee why the committee was formed and you will find it is because of the Mayor's out of control spending. If you take the time to ask, they will tell you. Ask the city clerk how much she has in reserve funds to run the city. You will find it is less than 1 months payoll. These are facts. You can spin it anyway you want, but the Mayor is the day to day person that has overseen the demise of several million dollars that the city had in reserves. No raises for city employees in 4 years while she was worried about her raise. Just the facts.
Well, in Ms. Moran's defense -- a big part of it as well has to do with the fact that the economy has fallen out from under itself.

However -- you are correct that the city's extravagant spending in the last several years from the new un-needed cop station/fire station to the sports field complex to all the downtown festivals/decorations/blah blah so on so on -- much of that has been paid with borrowed money. And the problem is -- you can only spend so much borrowed money(bonds) before either your debt load gets too large or until your credit rating gets downgraded or until you simply don't take in enough money to keep 'the train moving' so to speak.

If you look @ what happened in some of those cities in California that recently filed for Ch. 9 bankruptcy -- their city's budgetary health appeared 'bad but stable' on an initial glance.

But then you find out they were lowballing expenses & how much certain things like pension payments would expand. And I think that's going to expand harshly in the coming years.

Far far too much money has been borrowed, & usually the more money you borrow & spend -- the harder your fall.

Gautier is in the process now of privatizing their water dept. It'll save them money in the short term but in another decade if this gamble theyre trying doesn't peter out with the "Nature's Playground"/building a park by the mall, etc -- if this doesn't work out -- they're in deep shit.

They could have to do what Waveland is about to do -- give up their police force & fire protection & give it back to the county.

Property taxes can't go much higher without people realizing its not worth staying in a city. Pascagoula is only kept alive by money from Chevron & the shipyard. If the shipyard goes belly up that city will go up in flames. They'll become Moss Point over night.
Pro Police

Ocean Springs, MS

#11 Dec 13, 2012
Obviously the people talking about the new police facalities never worked or stayed at the old station. The toilets backed up, the showers did not work and if you are going to have prisoners, there are the basics you have to provide. It is a wonder they were never sued for inhumane living conditions.

The ceilings were fa;;ing in and the roof leaked like a seive. The building was a shambles.

It is 2012 not 1950, the city has grown and the building was needed,
TruthDoctor

Ocean Springs, MS

#12 Dec 30, 2012
Pro Police wrote:
Obviously the people talking about the new police facalities never worked or stayed at the old station. The toilets backed up, the showers did not work and if you are going to have prisoners, there are the basics you have to provide. It is a wonder they were never sued for inhumane living conditions.
The ceilings were fa;;ing in and the roof leaked like a seive. The building was a shambles.
It is 2012 not 1950, the city has grown and the building was needed,
I agree with contructing a new police station but I do not think it was necessary to build a Taj Mahal on property on Highway 90. The tax reveune that was given up by building a monument on the property that has the ability to generate a considerable amount of property taxes was not well thought out!
Buster

Ocean Springs, MS

#13 Dec 30, 2012
Those of you complaining about these new facilities need to understand that the voters showed up at the polls and overwhelmingly gave the city the green light by passing a referendum approving the city to move forward and to make it happen. Nothing would have been built if the citizens had voted it down. Instead they issued a mandate to go forward and make it happen which to the credit of our leaders they have done and done it very well.
Truth shall set you free

Flowood, MS

#14 Dec 30, 2012
Buster wrote:
Those of you complaining about these new facilities need to understand that the voters showed up at the polls and overwhelmingly gave the city the green light by passing a referendum approving the city to move forward and to make it happen. Nothing would have been built if the citizens had voted it down. Instead they issued a mandate to go forward and make it happen which to the credit of our leaders they have done and done it very well.
Buster, please tell me when the electorate voted to build a police station and fire station. The only green light was a 2% tax and an approval of another Taj Mahl High School. Please explain?????
Shame Shame

Ocean Springs, MS

#15 Jan 1, 2013
Where could the station have bee built other than Hwy 90?

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