What happened in Waveland?

There are 80 comments on the WLOX-TV Biloxi story from Aug 21, 2011, titled What happened in Waveland?. In it, WLOX-TV Biloxi reports that:

What happened in Waveland? How did the city nearly default on its bills? And why did it seem nobody knew the future of the police department was on life support until the chief got canned? We ask those questions, because we know Waveland residents are asking those questions.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WLOX-TV Biloxi.

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Summer

Gulfport, MS

#1 Aug 23, 2011
I wish we knew what really is going on in Waveland.
Light at the end

Biloxi, MS

#2 Aug 23, 2011
I met the new Chief, Kenny Hurt, today. I must say I am really impressed. Nothing like the old chief. Even the employees left there seem to be in a better mood.
The whole atmosphere of the place has changed, like a giant weight has been lifted. I surely hope this is a sign of things to come. I would love to see a police department that served the people instead of harassed and terrorized them.
I also heard from the court dept. that Jimmy Varnell has filed a lawsuit against the city! You would think after all the heartache, suffering and blatant mismanagement that happened under him, he would just slither away and hide. But NO, his immenseness has to bring yet more shame and sorrow to an already battered city. To you Varnell, I say your time has finally passed....GO AWAY! The days of your Cult of Intimidation are gone and, We the Citizens, are the better for it!
concerned

Hattiesburg, MS

#3 Aug 23, 2011
Summer wrote:
I wish we knew what really is going on in Waveland.
What happened is the prior administration wasted away all the money in Waveland and left the city broke. The problem is the ones in charge if the finances informed the new board and mayor of this deficit two weeks ago. Someone in city hall us obviously bit doing their job. The board has to make drastic cuts just finish out the fiscal year to the good. Hopefully there are brighter days ahead.
Hopeful

Clinton, IA

#4 Aug 23, 2011
I for one can attest to the fact that atmosphere of fear and intimidation is gone from WPD.
I wasn't sure at first about Chief Kenny but he has been nothing but good and has brought a settled feeling.
He is blunt and honest but after his meeting with us and talking with hin one on one I finally feel we have the beginnings of a good department.

Since: Jul 11

Dallas, TX

#5 Aug 24, 2011
You will not find a better person for the position than Kenny Hurt.
Lookingforward

Waveland, MS

#6 Aug 24, 2011
bugslammer1 wrote:
You will not find a better person for the position than Kenny Hurt.
With any luck he can return the police department to its original levels....with a better attitude.
Fedup Tax Paying Voter

Auburn, IN

#7 Aug 24, 2011
If all of you think it cannot get any worse, please attend the Waveland Board of Mayor and Council meeting on Tue. Sept. 6, 2011. If the info I have received is correct we are all in for a huge increase in our taxes. I have been told the "proposed" increase is for 13.25 mils!!!! If you have had enough please attend this meeting and let our elected representitives know we cannot afford this increase and we will not stand for their wasteful habits any longer. We have contractors being paid higher fees than their contracts call for, we have no one in the city government watching the recovery projects(he is too busy running for supervisor)and we have a comptroller who cannot,or will not, give exact figures on anything and we have a city clerk who is allowed the use of a gas guzzler SUV and a fuelman card and is being paid an additinal $10,000.00 per year to be the purchasing clerk and all she really does is sign the purchase orders after another employee does the job. The 2009 audit stated, as did the 2005-2008 audits, we do not have the proper systems in place that are required by our charter and state law. We can no longer afford these habits. We all voted for individuals we thought would be different than the past administration and it appears we have the same mentality as before. Please come to the next meeting of the Waveland Board of Mayor and Council and let your voices be heard. If we can fill the Civic Center when our Police Dept. is treatented surely we can fill it when our entire city is threatened. Be there on Tue. 9-6-11 @ 6:30pm or don't complain about the way things are being run in our city.
concerned

Madison, MS

#8 Aug 25, 2011
The city of Waveland is in a money crisis. The previous administration is the ones who got city in this shape. The new board is trying their best with what they have to make the city more financially sound. We all know that our taxes have to be increased. There has not been an increse since 2004.

I just wish everyone would have been this vocal the past four years. Maybe the city wouldn't be in the shape it is. Put the blame where belongs.
Fedup Tax Paying Voter

Auburn, IN

#9 Aug 25, 2011
Yes the previous administration got us in this crisis. The problem is 2/5 of this administration was the old administration. Some of us have been very vocal for the past 6 years. The only problem there is there were too few of us who was very diligent in attending the meetings and voicing our concerns and all our complaints fell on deaf ears. I know from personal experience I have begged the citizens of Waveland for the past 6 years to attend the meetings and get involved. Again these pleas fell on deaf ears and met with apathy. It amazes me that we can fill the Civic Center to SRO crowds of city employees families when they think they will lose their jobs but they have no time for other issues that directly effect their jobs and the entire city. If we have over 50 citizens at the Sept. 6 meeting, that will deal with the 2011-2012 budget, I will be very surprised. Actually the Mayor and board of Aldermen perfer to have as few of citzens as possible at these meetings. They would perfer to have all meetings in private if they could figure a way to do it. Yes the tax rate will have to be increased but we, the tax payers, should not have to pay higher taxes so OUR employees can continue with their little perks. We can no longer afford their habits. We can no longer afford to spend $1400.00 to feed city employees during parades, we can no longer afford to pay for city employees to use city vehicles and city gas for personal use, we can no longer afford to pay for alderman's personal agendas such as the white elephant(business incubator) on Coleman Ave., we can no longer afford to pay for any extras just because "we always have in the past". The present Mayor stated on WLOX had he known the city was in this condition he may not have wanted to be Mayor. This is an appalling statement from someone who campaigned for this job based on the need for a tighter rein on the city's budget and was a major department head for many years with this city. He should have known how the situation we were in. As someone who has been attending the metting for the past 6 years I knew we were in a dire crisis as did everyon else who attended the meetings. The present Mayor and the 2 new aldermen never attended a meeting until they filed to run for office last year. It is time for these 5 people to take control and quit letting 2 unelected people, the city clerk and the city attorney, dictate how our city is being run.
Make Change Happen

Houston, TX

#10 Aug 26, 2011
No Waveland citizen is going to welcome a large tax increase. Any tax increase will be seen by most as "wasteful government spending," but will probably be necessary to pay for increased insurance on buildings, a lawsuit the city lost, and liability insurance for a police dept. that was allowed to be totally out of control. Now that we know the details of eliminating the WPD and turning it over to the county, I think the citizens would prefer that to a large tax increase. There is no love lost between the citizens of Waveland and WPD; the outcry at the meeting was against reduced protection. Mayor Garcia's proposal should be reconsidered now that we know there would be no reduction in protection by having Hancock County deputies patrolling in Waveland police cars. A miserable job was done of getting the details out at the same time the elimination of WPD was proposed; the mayor should have seen to it that both came out at the same time.
Baffled

Pass Christian, MS

#11 Aug 26, 2011
concerned wrote:
<quoted text>
What happened is the prior administration wasted away all the money in Waveland and left the city broke. The problem is the ones in charge if the finances informed the new board and mayor of this deficit two weeks ago. Someone in city hall us obviously bit doing their job. The board has to make drastic cuts just finish out the fiscal year to the good. Hopefully there are brighter days ahead.
Ok, let's get this straight. This sounds like some Obama crap. It is not at all acceptable to keep shoveling blame on the previous administration. Longo was a flat-out failure. That was known while he was in office, while Garcia was running for mayor, and now that Garcia is in office. HOWEVER...we are now just a few month from a year in office, and absolutely NOTHING positive is happening in Waveland.

Today is another utter failure milestone for the city of Waveland, and Garcia seems to have the usual lack of answers. If he can't fix this, fine. He should resign immediately. Don't continue to run it into the ground while blabbering BS about the previous administration. This is politics at its finest.

What a debacle.
Baffled

Pass Christian, MS

#12 Aug 26, 2011
Make Change Happen wrote:
No Waveland citizen is going to welcome a large tax increase. Any tax increase will be seen by most as "wasteful government spending," but will probably be necessary to pay for increased insurance on buildings, a lawsuit the city lost, and liability insurance for a police dept. that was allowed to be totally out of control. Now that we know the details of eliminating the WPD and turning it over to the county, I think the citizens would prefer that to a large tax increase. There is no love lost between the citizens of Waveland and WPD; the outcry at the meeting was against reduced protection. Mayor Garcia's proposal should be reconsidered now that we know there would be no reduction in protection by having Hancock County deputies patrolling in Waveland police cars. A miserable job was done of getting the details out at the same time the elimination of WPD was proposed; the mayor should have seen to it that both came out at the same time.
Uh...let's get this straight. The city is cutting services heavily, and property taxes are now going to go UP??? At least we have all those lovely section 8 apartments clustered on 90. I thought that was going to pump up the tax base.

lulz!
Fedup Tax Paying Voter

Auburn, IN

#13 Aug 27, 2011
Baffled wrote:
<quoted text>
Uh...let's get this straight. The city is cutting services heavily, and property taxes are now going to go UP??? At least we have all those lovely section 8 apartments clustered on 90. I thought that was going to pump up the tax base.
lulz!
Never does section 8 housing pump up the tax base.It actually has the reverse effect. The owners of these properties pay taxes only on the appraise value of the land. They fill the apartments with low income people, who usually have several school age children, and our federal tax dollars subsidize the rent and the owners get tax breaks. Then the children fill up our schools, getting free meals, free school supplies and we the tax payers foot the bill. These section 8 apartments only hurt the local economy. We have people from La. moving here for these low rent apartments and less crowded schools. Then they apply for EBT cards and we, the tax payers again foot the bill. I for one have had enough of this.
positivethinking

Waveland, MS

#14 Aug 27, 2011
instead of all you people steady condemning the new mayor and board of alderman, you ought to be thankful they are finding all the problems, that our city has. they did'nt create these problems they inherited them and they are trying to do whats best for the city. but you all have alot of negative thoughts about them. i have never in anyway seen where the mayor and alderman wanted to have there meetings all behind locked doors. these guys are working there tails off. why don't you all give them the opportunity to try and get this straight. our city is in bad shape and it has been in bad shape for sometime this has not happened in just the past 8 months. think about!!! instead of steady condemning!!! I would'nt want to be in the mayors shoes or the aldermans.this was all coming down sooner or later no matter who would have been elected mayor or alderman!!!
NOexcuse

Gulfport, MS

#15 Aug 27, 2011
There's NO WAY the mayor, city clerk or comptroller couldn't have noticed that they were steady being overdrawn from the general fund!!! HALF a MILLION dollars???? That didn't happen overnight, and if you been in office for 8 months you damn well had to see that you couldnt cover the checks youre writing! It's not any different than writing a check out of your account, looking at youre balance and seeing that the money isnt there to cover it. So, you do NOTHING until its too late??? There just isnt any excuse for that. The problems started under Longo, but in the last 8 months cutbacks here and there could have been made that would have avoided this massive layoff. Period.
nojustus

Biloxi, MS

#16 Aug 27, 2011
positivethinking wrote:
instead of all you people steady condemning the new mayor and board of alderman, you ought to be thankful they are finding all the problems, that our city has. they did'nt create these problems they inherited them and they are trying to do whats best for the city. but you all have alot of negative thoughts about them. i have never in anyway seen where the mayor and alderman wanted to have there meetings all behind locked doors. these guys are working there tails off. why don't you all give them the opportunity to try and get this straight. our city is in bad shape and it has been in bad shape for sometime this has not happened in just the past 8 months. think about!!! instead of steady condemning!!! I would'nt want to be in the mayors shoes or the aldermans.this was all coming down sooner or later no matter who would have been elected mayor or alderman!!!
Waveland is gone and needs Hancock county to take over. The streets that were rebuilt are falling apart already. Drainage has not been corrected. They have built side walks that no one will ever use. Rebuilt many streets that one one lives on, while St. Joesph and Jeff Davis streets fall apart.. Passed ridiculous Ordinances since Katrina.
Alderman Lili Stahler and Ricky Geoffreyd stopped property owner from coming back by not allowing Fema cottages for most and there by reducing the tax collection.
Alderman Lili Stahler and Ricky Geoffreyd not to know what was coming is inexcusable. These two have showed themselfs to be totally incapable to hold a position in public office.

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2011/08/26/3379237/s...
emergency

Gulfport, MS

#17 Aug 27, 2011
best thing could happen is waveland citizens petition state to be annexed by BSL. At least then we'd have a FULL TIME fire department and police officers. If are taken over by the county, what will we have? A VOLUNTEER fire department and the sheriff department with a couple extra officers for police protection.
displeased

Waveland, MS

#18 Aug 27, 2011
emergency wrote:
best thing could happen is waveland citizens petition state to be annexed by BSL. At least then we'd have a FULL TIME fire department and police officers. If are taken over by the county, what will we have? A VOLUNTEER fire department and the sheriff department with a couple extra officers for police protection.
the people that have waveland in there hearts are not going to give up that easy, to be taken over by bay st. louis or the county. all you people that are doing all the hollowing to have waveland taken over by the bay, must not be from waveland. i know waveland is in bad shape but bay st. louis is not in the best shape either. thank god they have the casino!!!
emergency

Gulfport, MS

#19 Aug 27, 2011
Yes, the bay has the casino. It takes in LESS tax money than Waveland businesses, and yet the bay is NOT laying anyone off and theyre up to date on their audits, and all is well and in the black. The bay has responsible people managing the money and a responsible mayor. People are working, not fired or put on part time status. We will have NO fire department and NO police dept if the county takes waveland over. And if you think for a minute that our aldermen/mayor can solve our money woes in 4 weeks, youre sadly misinformed. I think its less than 4 weeks, if the budget has to be approved by Sept 15. Be realistic. Wishing something to be better just isn't going to make it so, and if our city "leaders" couldn't see this mess coming, how in hell can they "fix" it in just a matter of days? It isn't going to happen. IN fact, last night waveland asked the bay st louis fire department to send some of their firemen to go with them to any fire or wreck in Waveland,to assist our fire department that only has ONE fireman working each day. You tell me which city has its shit together! you just cant argue with the facts, no matter how much we wish it werent so!
By Guy

Gulfport, MS

#20 Aug 28, 2011
emergency wrote:
best thing could happen is waveland citizens petition state to be annexed by BSL. At least then we'd have a FULL TIME fire department and police officers. If are taken over by the county, what will we have? A VOLUNTEER fire department and the sheriff department with a couple extra officers for police protection.
BSL does not want or need Wavelands debt. if we were to take over our guys would have to have all income and control.

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