Picayune City Council to vote on budget Friday morning
The Picayune City Council will meet today (Friday) at 8:00am to vote on the budget for the 2018 fiscal year. Last week, the council approved a two-mill tax increase that will generate $180,000.00 of extra revenue. The council has had two budget workshops since last week and the majority of the council will likely approve a budget that will guarantee the $180,000.00 will be distributed in salary increases for the police, the fire, and public works.
It’s the majority of the council's desire to allocate the money with 45% of the $180,000.00 going to the Police Department, 40% to the Fire Department, and 15% to the Public Works Department.
On Wednesday, Councilman Wayne Gouget stated, “I voted for the tax increase and it was a very hard decision to do so. I want this money to go to our police and fire and into bringing up our minimum pay scale. I want to see our starting pay for police officers go to $14.00 per hour and I understand that’s got to filter up, but I don’t want this to go to the upper levels of management.”
Gouget was adamant on how he wanted the increased revenue to be allocated and he added “for the 3% that was already in the budget for an across the board cost of living adjustment, I want that to be used as a merit raise and not an across the board increase. I believe we’ve got to use that money in a way to keep the good people on board.”
Councilman Larry Breland stated that he did not share the same idea as Gouget.
Breland said, “I don’t agree with that. I think everyone should be treated equally. I’m totally against that. It’s just not fair.”
Breland stated twice during the workshop that he wants everyone to get a raise from the 3% in the budget.
Breland and council member Lynn Bogan Bumpers are trying to convince other members of the council to put approximately $70,000.00 in the budget for improvements for Picayune Cemetery on 8th Street and another $27.000.00 for park repairs that Breland has requested earlier this year, but was not approved by the entire council.
City Clerk Amber Hinton said she will prepare two budgets for the council’s review; one with the requested additional numbers from Breland & Bumpers and one without the numbers.