Council approves new fee schedules

Published 7:21 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2006

The Picayune City Council last night approved raising Planning Commission and site review fees and to raise filing fees under the city’s subdivision ordinance.

Tammy Campbell with the Planning and Zoning Department said the increases were to bring the city’s fees in line with the fees of surrounding communities.

“This is what Hancock County and other communities around us are charging,” Campbell told the council about her proposal for raising the subdivision fees from $50 a plat and 50 cents a plot to, in some cases, as much as $300 a plat and $5 a plot.

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City planning consultant Tom Sanders warned that the council needed to be careful not to make it unattractive to build in Picayune.

“I have no objection to raising the fees. I just want to be sure that they only cover the costs,” Sanders said.

Councilman Jerry Bounds told Sanders that Campbell’s proposal was based on a survey of surrounding communities and actual costs.

“We were losing money with the old fees. We were subsidizing developers,” Bounds said.

The council also was given copies of the new fees that are now being charged under the 2003 International Building Codes. The fees had been approved automatically when the city adopted the building codes in July of 2003, but they had never been implemented by the Zoning and Planning Department.

When Mayor Greg Mitchell suggested delaying the fees implementation by 30 days so the public could prepare, Campbell said she had already instituted new computer software with the fees and that to delay them would require some extensive computer work.

City Attorney Nathan Farmer and council members reminded Mitchell that the public already had been given time to absorb the information when they told Campbell last month to begin implementing the fees in October.

The council also approved a 90-day extension for Alltell to use a trailer as a temporary office next to Wal-Mart while a strip mall on the property where the company’s new office will be located is completed. The council also approved public hearings at its Tuesday, Nov. 7, meeting on cleanups needed at two properties.

The council also set Nov. 7 as the date for a public hearing on a comprehensive land use plan drawn up for the city by Sanders. The hearing, by state law, has to be advertised before it can be held

In other business, the council:

— Approved a series of matching grant applications and one no match grant application to the Mississippi Development Authority to advertise Picayune as a retirement community.

— Reappointed Dr. David Futrell and Frank Ford to the Picayune Aviation Commission and delayed appointing a person to the commission to complete the term of Darrin Dennis.

— Approved the 2005 property record report from The Valuation Advisory Group, Inc.

— Approved extending the T-hanger construction contract at the airport from Nov. 29 to Dec. 19 because of rain in September.

— Approved a grant application to the Miss. Dept. of Health for mosquito control materials.

— Approved extending contract for Police Department uniforms for fiscal year 2006-2007.

— Appointed Fire Chief Keith Brown as Homeland Security Program grant coordinator and approved entering into a cooperative agreement with the Miss. Dept. of Homeland Security to apply for a 2006 Homeland Security Grant.

— Went into executive session on a series of contractual matters, possible purchase of property and a personnel matter.