Picayune has new city manager, proposed subdivision annexed

Published 5:54 pm Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mayor Greg Mitchell opened the Picayune City Council meeting last night by introducing Ed Pinero, Jr., as the new city manager, though the official vote to hire him as city manager did not come until after the executive session later in the evening.

Pinero won’t officially take office until Aug. 1, but was at the meeting anyway.

Mitchell first lauded recently retired City Manager Reggie Frierson, then told the small crowd, “I’m happy to see young people taking an interest in public service,” as he introduced Pinero.

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The City Council also voted, following the executive session, to purchase the building the city has been operating out of for the past couple of months. The official document signing to purchase the former Arizona Chemical property is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday in the council’s chambers at the building, said interim city manager Diane Miller

The major bit of business fon the agenda for the open part of the meeting, though, was a request by Mark Gibson to have 2,000 acres on Mississippi 43 North annexed into the city. Gibson plans to put a subdivision to be called Breckenridge Subdivision on the 2,000 acres and wants city services.

Prior to a motion being made for approval of the request, Mitchell reminded the council that it would take money to put water, sewer and natural gas into the subdivision.

Public works director Chad Frierson said that some preliminary research he had done into the costs of the utilities indicated that it would cost $3 million to $3.5 million for water and sewer service. He said a lift station would be needed for sewer service and that probably a water tower would have to be built to serve the area.

The council discussed various options for financing the utility service, such as grants from various sources, including rural development and the federal money that may follow the recent development of the county-wide utility district.

Mitchell also mentioned that providing the service might require loans and bonds. However, council members believed the development would pay for itself and approved the annexation after Gibson said he would work with the council on the timing of various phases of development so that building didn’t outrun services.

The council also approved preliminary plats for two other subdivisions, Phase II of The Bluff near Hobolochitto Creek and Phase I of Beau Jardin, off U.S. 11 and Lakeshore Drive.

The council also approved a public hearing for rezoning land for Beau Jardin Phase II from agricultural A-1 to PUD-R. For the same property owner, Tommy Sanders, the council also approved a hearing on rezoning another part of the property from A-1 to commercial C-3.

The nagging problem of drainage and how to handle gutting and reconstruction debris now that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has finished its debris pickup in the city and the county also came up for discussion.

One resident of Wood Glen Cove, Jeff Henzik said he has just received his FEMA trailer and only now can begin gutting his home. He said he knew of others who had just received insurance payments to begin work and others who were still waiting on them.

Without a vote, the council said it would address each debris case individually, but also said that where a contractor is involved, the contractor is responsible for removing any demolition and construction debris. Henzik told the council he planned to do at least the gutting of his home himself.

The council approved an ordinance that would allow it to declare a breed of dog or a mixed breed of dog as vicious or dangerous. That was the issue that originally brought Henzik to the meeting. He owns two American pit bulls as pets and doesn’t want the breed designated a vicious or dangerous.

Henzik still wasn’t happy when City Attorney Nathan Farmer explained that the ordinance did not declare any breed as vicious or dangerous, it just allowed the City Council to do so after first holding hearings on a particular breed or mixed breed.

The council members present unanimously approved the ordinance. Councilman Anna Turnage, who represents the Wood Glen Cove area, was absent from the meeting.

The council also approved an agreement with Margaret Dillard, owner of Moon Meadow Trailer Park. Farmer, who drew up the agreement and presented it to thecouncil, believes the agreement will help keep the property from again becoming a problem for the city.

In other matters, the council:

— Heard an update on the Main Street program from program manager Reba Beebe.

— Approved a home occupation license for Ann Lee to run a collection service.

— Remanded back to the zoning commission a request to place a trailer on a piece of property. Farmer said that the request needed to come before the council as a request for a variance due to the property’s zoning.

— Approved  a request by Alltel to locate a temporary office at the site of where its new office is being constructed in a shopping center just west of Home Depot.

— Accepted a donation of $25,000 from Norfolk Southern Railroad.

— Accepted a Special Community Disaster Loan of $1.01 million.

— Approved advertising for bids on the proposed Telly Road project.

— Heard from Police Chief Jim Luke that the city’s DARE car recently was featured in Law Enforcement Magazine.

— Approved a motion by Jerry Bounds to relieve the Picayune Band Boosters of the duty of putting up the city flags on national holidays and reassigning to task to the Picayune Navy Junior ROTC.

— Went into executive session on a contractual matter with Hemphill Construction, on a contractual matter with International Paper Co. and on a personnel matter.