City manager bids farewell

Published 4:27 pm Thursday, February 7, 2008

Picayune’s city manager has officially moved on to take his new job with the county while the fire department has received a grant for a new arson K-9 unit from State Farm.

Now former city manager Ed Pinero will move on to become the Planning and Development Director for Pearl River County. He thanked all the council members and the mayor for supporting him during his time with the city and allowing him to serve as city manager.

“I can’t thank you enough for all the support you’ve given me, that stands for every one up here,” Pinero said.

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Every council member took their turn relaying their appreciation for Pinero’s hard work during his 18 month employment with the city, and council member Anna Turnage said he will be sadly missed.

“I told him earlier he knows his way back home,” council member Donald Parker said.

Council member Leavern Guy said he expects Pinero’s new position with the county to help establish a good working relationship between the city and the county.

“He set the bar for the city manager to a new level,” council member Jerry Bounds said.

After Pinero left his seat amongst the council, city purchasing agent Harvey Miller took his place as interim city manager.

“My last hurrah is gonna be to turn off this phone and walk home,” Pinero said.

The city is advertising for a new city manager, Bounds said.

In other business, Picayune’s fire Department will be the first in the state of Mississippi to receive an arson K-9 under the State Farm grant, Fire Chief Keith Brown said. Under the grant Picayune Fire Marshall Pat Weaver and the new K-9 will travel to Maine to partake in a five week training program so both can become certified. Forty states in the U.S. have State Farm arson dogs.

With the missing Chimney Square in Picayune a special service to the community has had to move to other areas a few times. Now with no place to go representatives with the Millcreek In Home Service want to know about the possibility of operating their cookie cart at the new train station.

Before Hurricane Katrina the cookie cart, manned by physically handicapped community members, was operating at Chimney Square. After Katrina it moved to Church of the Way. Now that those county offices are temporarily located in Carriere, Millcreek In-Home Service member Darryle Whitfield asks if there is a possibility to put the cookie cart in the train station when it is completed. Mayor Greg Mitchell said he does not foresee there being a problem with locating the cart there, but some legalities need to be worked out.

“I don’t see the council opposing this in any way,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell asked city attorney Nathan Farmer to look into the agreement concerning the grant that is paying for the train depot and present his findings at the council’s next meeting.

Community members of the Stemwood subdivision addressed a long standing sewer problem. In the past one resident’s home has had sewer back into it, said resident Mike McNeely. While the residents state that city efforts have currently remedied the sewer from backing into homes, at times the sewer still contaminates other yards and water sheds during heavy rains. Public Works Director Chad Frierson said a lift station has been added to the problematic area but sometimes power outages keep the pump from working. With a new development planned in the area Frierson said the city is looking for Community Development Block Grant funds to upgrade the sewer system in the area to meet the increased demand the new development will bring. If the funding is approved that work would be completed within the year.

In other business the council went into executive session to discuss the possible lease of office space, contractual matters and a personnel matter. Only one possible lease of office space was discussed dealing with Conner Cain travel agency establishing an office at the new train depot. Miller said the council approved the lease with the company contingent on rental pricing and some legal matters. All other executive session business was postponed until the next meeting.

In other matters the council;

— Approved Hancock Bank’s bid for new fire equipment and fire trucks for the proposed new fire station. Hancock Bank turned in the lowest bid with a net and gross interest payment of $86,597.22 and an interest rate of 2.9 percent. The trucks and equipment will be paid for with insurance rebate funds.

— Approved the mayor to sign a letter from Mississippi Department of Transportation in reference to Memorial Boulevard improvements phase two.

— Approved submitting application to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency for a drainage improvement project. If approved those funds should help alleviate flooding in areas that consistently flood during heavy rains such as Alligator Branch, Bookdale Avenue and Woodglen Cove.

The next meeting will be Feb. 19, at 6 p.m.