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City takes over meter reading

Picayune’s City Council called a meeting Thursday evening to discuss three matters in open session and three in executive session.

One of the items in open session involved the city using remaining funds in the budget that was to go to pay Meter Reading Specialists in order to purchase three new Ford Ranger size pick-up trucks, apparently to do the job themselves. The council approved motion to purchase the trucks.

Interim City Manager Harvey Miller said the matter is currently under pending litigation and the city will release more information once that litigation has been completed.

Unused insurance proceeds were approved for use by the council to purchase a bucket truck and a ditching machine. Those funds will come from various accounts where money was left over after repair work was funded by grants or was in excess. Those funds include $9,929.35 from Katrina damage to City Hall, $11,440.24 from Animal Shelter roof repairs, $5,721.56 from Jack Read Park, $19,052.38 from Gas and Water Storage and $20,148.52 from Friendship park. Those funds will be moved to the general funds.

Mayor Greg Mitchell asked Miller to look into the purchase of a ditching machine and a bucket truck.

Mitchell and Fire Chief Keith Brown agreed that the purchase of a city bucket truck could be a valuable asset for the city.

In the final matter of open session, the council considered an emergency purchase to install a heating and air conditioning system at the new city hall building. The funds would come from remaining funds from the bond Issue when the building was purchased by the city.

The approximate cost of the new system is about $70,000. Miller said the current system is failing and he hopes to get the new system installed before the summer months arrive.

In other matters, the council went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter, the contractual matter with an ambulance service and a contractual matter with BBI Inc.

No action was taken on the ambulance contract because city attorney Nathan Farmer was not present to present information on the matter. The contractual matter with BBI Inc. was only discussed with no action taken. The personnel matter was approved and concerned usage of city vehicles by city employees. The usage will be reduced to cut down on fuel costs.