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City may begin recycling program

An industrial baler has been ordered for the City of Picayune to help implement a recycling program to help raise money to support the city clean up effort.

Wal-Mart general manager Steve LeBlanc said $10,500 to purchase the baler was raised during the recent softball tournament held at Friendship Park,. Industrial balers are used by larger companies to compress and store cardboard boxes for recycling. The city plans to use the baler to compress and recycle a multitude of materials.

The baler will be placed at City Hall where recycling days, hopefully on Saturdays, will be set and certain recyclable materials will be accepted.

“This will be the start for a recycling program,” LeBlanc said.

Volunteer organizations can donate their time to help monitor the recycling program. Bales of recyclable materials will be sold to recycling companies and those profits will help keep the city clean through the Pick It Up Picayune effort. If the program goes as planned, the profit margin may be high enough to fund an employee who will oversee the program for the city, LeBlanc said.

The city can expect to collect between $2,000 to $8,000 a month in recycling revenue, depending on the number of bales collected.

Resident Curtis McElroy asked if the program would take away from the already established aluminum can recycling program at the animal shelter. Mayor Greg Mitchell was under the impression that any cans that came to city hall during their program would be sent to the animal shelter for the shelter’s benefit.

The program could help small businesses by providing a place for them to bring their recyclable materials, such as cardboard boxes. If the businesses bring those materials to city hall, they would have more room in their dumpsters to put waste that cannot be recycled.

The council also approved holding the next Pick It Up Picayune event at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, a week before the Fall Street Fair.

Mary Ellen Bright with the Civic Woman’s Club announced a donation of $1,068 that was used to purchase new barricades for the Police Department to use during the club’s annual Christmas Parade. This year’s parade is set for Monday, Dec. 3. The Police Department helped to save some of the cost in the barricades by picking them up, and by donating them to the department, the club did not have pay taxes on them.

A potentially troublesome company that was operating in the city limits had its privilege license revoked after the council’s executive session. Stone Treated Materials was issued cease and desist orders by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, and Tuesday the company had its privilege license revoked by the council. Before the company can begin operations again, it must come under compliance with MDEQ and reapply with the city for a privilege license.

A request to approve the final plat of Berrywood Estates for phase III had a few questions posed by residents who bought homes in phases I and II. McElroy said several of the homeowners have warranty issues that should be taken care of before the developer is allowed to start on the new phase. All of the homes came with a year warranty and since purchasing, some problems with the some of the homes have been discovered by the owners, but not fixed by the developer. Mitchell asked City Manager Ed Pinero Jr. to discuss the problems with the homeowners and discuss those problems with the developer. The council approved a motion to approve the final plats for phase III of the subdivision.

During the meeting each member of the council took a moment to recognize Police Chief Jim Luke, since he will remain as police chief for the city. Since he did not win the run off election last week for sheriff, the city feels honored that he will remain their police chief, each council member said.

“We appreciate you and the stuff you’ve done for the city,” council member Jerry Bounds said.

Bounds had four of the five municipal league awards the city has won over the past five years displayed at the front of the meeting. He said for the past five years in a row the City of Picayune has won awards with the MML; the last four have been in public safety under Luke’s efforts as chief.

Luke said he is excited to continue to serve the city as their police chief.

The council went into executive session to discuss contractual matters with Neal Schaeffer and with the city Parks and Recreation Department. When the council came out of executive session, it approved to move forward with a comprehensive plan to conduct a planning and population study to be funded with Community Development Block Grant funds and to move forward with a fair use agreement for parties interested in using the parks, Pinero said.

In other business the council;

— Approved Mitchell to attend the Mississippi Municipal League board meeting on Sept. 21, in Tunica.

— Accepted a donation of $500 from Wal-Mart for the Fire Department to use to purchase fire prevention materials for small children.

The council recessed until 4 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the annual budget. A budget meeting will be held Sept. 10, at 6 p.m.