City council presents preliminary budget

The Picayune City Council presented the preliminary budget for fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, during Tuesday’s meeting.

The budget, with a current total of $37,171,818, was briefly discussed during a public hearing at the meeting. During workshops with the council members and city administration, the Picayune Police had asked for an increase of six additional officers. The budget, as it stands right now, includes a net gain of one patrol officer according to City Manager Jim Luke. The budget also includes a step-in-grade increase for city employees, which was confirmed by councilman Wayne Gouguet and City Clerk Amber Hinton during the discussion during the hearing.

City Clerk Amber Hinton (standing) discusses budget with council

The budget will not include a tax millage increase from the current amount that is 38.61 mills. The school tax millage will remain at 61.01 according to councilman Gouguet during discussion with Hinton and Mayor Ed Pinero.

The council will have more discussions which could lead to possible changes in the budget numbers in the departments, but Mayor Ed Pinero reiterated that the intent of the council was not to increase taxes and work within the means of the current revenue stream of the city.

Also during the meeting, the council approved an ordinance for amendment related to wrecker and towing services. Code Enforcement Officer Tom Milar explained that towing services will be used by the city on the rotation in place with the Mississippi Highway Patrol at the time of a call for service. In essence, Milar stated that the burden of inspecting towing providers and their equipment, and related insurance and license requirements will no longer be the responsibility of the Picayune Police Department, but will be solely the responsibility of the state.

According to Milar, the amendment of the ordinance allows the city to either accept the services of the next towing company on rotation with MHP or if an individual has a personal preference of a towing service that would like to use, the individual can still opt out of the rotation and request the towing service of their choice.

During the miscellaneous business section of the meeting, councilman Larry Breland made the council and those in attendance that it was his birthday. Breland led those assembled in a “Happy Birthday” song to himself.

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