Mayor Ed Pinero, Council members Tammy Valente and Larry Breland
City Clerk Amber Hinton addresses the Council on the budget
At last night’s Picayune City Council public hearing, the council did not approve the budget before them and will now have approximately two weeks to agree upon and pass a budget for fiscal year ending September 30, 2018.
After there were no comments or questions from the public at the hearing, District 4 Councilman Larry Breland expressed concerns about the budget before the board. Breland stated there were items not in the budget that he had requested during the budget workshops last week. Breland had issue that the request that he and fellow council member Lynn Bumpers submitted for improvements at 8th Street Cemetary were not included in the budget.
Breland asked City Clerk Amber Hinton how he could get his request in the budget and Hinton explained that the proposed budget did not include his request, there is a second option of the budget that could include his request depending on how the council would vote on the budget before them.
Breland also stated that he was not happy with the proposed three percent raise in the budget for city employees. He stated “I really think that it’s insulting, but I know we have to work within our budget. If we could do something down the lines of giving them a better insurance packet (package) or giving them more of a raise. It’s very insulting to me that we have a professional Police and Fire Department and they are not paid with that respect.”
Breland voiced his concern that many of the police and fire department employees have to go to a second job, yet they are putting their lives on the line every day for the city.
Breland added “we need to go back and look at this budget. I am not advocating a millage increase, but we’ve got to look at what’s needed.”
After Breland’s statements, the public hearing was closed. The council then voted to approve the tax levy for the Picayune School system for 61.82 mills, which is the same amount from the previous year. Hinton explained that the school requested dollars that equated to the same millage from last year.
The tax levy for the municipal taxes for the city of Picayune of 36.61 mills, which would have been to leave it the same as it was last year, failed on a vote of 6 to zero.
The council will now have another budget hearing on Friday, September 8th at 8:00am in order to meet their requirement to adopt a budget for the coming fiscal year by September 15th.