City awards solid waste collection contract; hears update on school resource officers

During last night’s meeting of the Picayune City Council, the council approved a request to reward the city’s solid waste collection to the lowest bidder, Coastal Environmental Services of Pearl River, LA. The contract will bring about some minor changes for residents of the city.

Eric Morris, Director of Public Works, stated that every residential homeowner will get a new cart (garbage bin on wheels). Morris explained that the biggest change under the new contract, which starts on September 1st of this year, is that the city of Picayune will no longer provide rubbish collection which include items such as grass clippings, leaves, pine straw, and bed mattresses that have been picked up in the past. According to Morris, this service will now be available as a contractual service.

Morris showed the members of the council an initial draft of an informational flyer, that once completed, will be distributed to all residential homeowners as a guide to the forthcoming changes to the services offered for rubbish collection in lieu of being performed by the city of Picayune. He noted that the flyer states that the city will continue to pick up items like appliances, such as washers and dryers, and will continue to pick up scrap metal and tires curbside upon a resident requesting that service from the city.

Morris explained that the city will no longer pick up construction debris, but reiterated that all rubbish collection (as noted earlier) will be the responsibility of the contractor. He said Coastal Environmental will most likely split the city into four sections (areas) with each of these areas having a designated day of the week for the rubbish collection.

Morris responded to a question from councilman Wayne Gouguet about the repair of the trash carts and who is responsible. Morris said the contractor has assured him that they will do a good job of keeping the carts maintained and repaired.

Councilman Larry Breland asked about leaves and grass clippings that are bagged up by the homeowner. Morris explained as long as the items are bagged, the contractor will collect those items for disposal as part of a normal pick up.

City Clerk Amber Hinton told the council that rates for residents are not expected to increase. Morris said the contract is for four years with a one year option. Recycling will continue as is with 18 gallon bins (tubs) and the normal pickup schedule of two days will also stay the same. New carts will be given out approximately three weeks before the contract begins.

Also at last night’s meeting, the council approved a request to accept the revised agreement with the Picayune School District to add three new resource officers to the current four officers already in place per the school district’s request. The city will provide the services to the school district for actual costs of the services.

Chief Bryan Dawsey discusses the school resource program with city council

Picayune Police Department Chief Bryan Dawsey pointed out that this service has been provided since 2003 and the new request will put an officer in each school in the Picayune School District.

Chief Dawsey told the council that he and his staff are in the process of interviewing applicants and will soon be hiring the three new officers. He added that the new officers will be trained properly and ready to perform the duties once placed on the school campuses.

“I think it’s essential we have these officers in the schools. Turn on the news, it happens about every week. We have to protect these children, the staff, and the teachers at these schools. We don’t have a choice, we have to do it. These children are the greatest asset that we have. I think eventually that every school in this nation will have a school resource officer,” Dawsey explained on the necessity of this partnership.

Chief Dawsey added, “I think parents throughout the school district feel better knowing there’s an armed officer on every campus. If someone decides to go onto a campus and cause harm, they will be confronted by a Picayune Police officer.”

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