Council approved Utility Authority taking over sewer services

Published 6:48 pm Wednesday, April 16, 2008

After a discussion in executive session, Picayune’s City Council approved, contingent on stipulations, Pearl River County’s Utility Authority taking over the city’s sewer system.

The approval of the contract between the city and the Utility Authority is contingent on city attorney Nathan Farmer and the Utility Authority’s attorneys agreeing on the contractual wording, Interim City Manager Harvey Miller said. He said the matter will be brought up again at the next council meeting.

The council also discussed a number of community complaints.

Father’s Day and Mother’s Day events that community members are planning have encountered some road bumps.

Deon McDougle turned in a request to raise money through a Father’s Day car show on Sunday, June 15, at Snyder Park. The council’s agenda suggested the council deny the request, due to complaints about last year’s event.

CouncilmanJerry Bonds said he has a problem concerning the event, since there are no stipulations listed. Bounds would like to see stipulations pertaining to no alcohol at the event, inclusion of security and a fee to be paid to the city for the use of the park.

McDougle said he had no problem with paying the fee to use the park and would be willing to work with the other requests. Council member Anna Turnage additionally asked for a statement in the letter of intent to the city pertaining to what the money raised at the event would be used for. McDougle’s request was tabled until the next meeting where he would fulfill the council’s requests.

Antonio Smith wants to hold a Mother’s Day softball tournament at the park, but would like to do some maintenance to the park beforehand. He was looking to the council for some assistance in the matter. Smith said the fence and some bathroom work is needed. Per the council’s request, he sought some bids on the fence work. The lowest was about $1,600. Miller said he will discuss the matter with the city park director Ryan Moreaux.

Concern over children’s safety after cleanup work conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency at the Superfund Site was brought up. Larry Breeland said residential ditches being dug out during the work pose a safety hazard. If a big rain comes into the area, the flooded ditches could provide a drowning hazard for children.

“I don’t think you would want your child to be in an area where that would happen,” Breeland said.

Breeland said he understands the current city financial situation but suggested getting the ditches covered while the agency is in the area. Once the Superfund work is completed, prices to conduct the work will only increase, he said.

Council members said they will go and look at the area.

Crime and drugs at the end of Central Avenue were brought to the council’s attention by resident Raven Hughes. Problems on the street include increases in drug and violent activity.

“The situation has gotten really bad,” Hughes said.

Hughes said she recently purchased a video camera, which she says has helped the situation but has also earned her some threats. Problems in the area involve loud music, vandalism and a couple of weeks ago she witnessed a man chase his girlfriend with a machete. She asked the council for increased police patrol in the area.

Police Chief Jim Luke said his department is involved in the area weekly and has made a few arrests.

“It’s a hot spot and we are taking a strong involvement there. It’s not something that’s going to be solved overnight,” Luke said.

The council went into executive session to discuss contractual matters with cleanup, meter reading, Hattiesburg Coca-Cola Co. and Tom Sanders and also a personnel matter. When the council came out, it tabled the property cleanup matter, approved Meter Reading Services to continue meter reading but the city will collect bills, agreed to purchase Coca-Cola products for use at Friendship Park with the company providing score boards for the ball fields, and approved a Picayune address for Tom Sander’s development Beau Jardin. In the personnel matter the council approved Miller’s salary.

In other business the council;

— Approved for Police Chaplain Darrell Worley to attend the International Conference of Police Chaplains from July 7 to 11, in Mobile Ala., for required training. Expenses for the conference include a registration fee of $292 plus travel expenses.

— Approved Picayune’s Blue Knights Chapter 9 to conduct a police escorted motorcycle ride April 26. Proceeds collected for the ride will be used to purchase orange cones to conduct a motorcycle safety training school.

— Approved definition of MEMA cottages to be placed inside corporate limits of the city into zones R-4 and M-1, or trailer parks.

The next council meeting is at 6 p.m. May 6, in the council chambers.