Picayune City Council approves budget

Published 1:42 pm Tuesday, September 16, 2008

At special meeting of the Picayune City Council Monday night the upcoming fiscal year’s budget was approved as the council adopted a new millage rate and approved the tax rolls for the city and county.

In the budget is a city millage increase of 3.33 mills, however the Picayune School Separate Municipal District is decreasing their millage rate by 3.33 mills.

Mayor Greg Mitchell said taking into consideration the increase in city millage and the decrease in school district millage there will be a zero net increase in millage. To be specific, there will be an increase of millage in the city of 3.33 mills. With the school district decreasing their millage by 3.33 mills that will mean a zero millage increase, Mitchell said. The only increase residents will encounter will be the increase in assessed property value from the county wide reassessment. That increase in property values will allow the city to balance their budget, Guy said.

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At first the council seemed as though they would adopt all four agenda items in one vote, which involved all budget and tax items, making for a quick session but city council member Leavern Guy suggested the council approve each one individually.

First the city had to deal with a less than satisfied resident.

Just as the city was set to approve the first item on the agenda, the only citizen to attend the meeting, Noel Mansfield, asked to share some comments. City officials informed Mansfleld that the public hearing for the proposed budget was last week, but Mansfield was adamant about sharing his opinion. Even though the public hearing had passed the council heard what Mansfield had to say.

Mansfield said this year is a poor time to raise taxes since people in town are already taxed to death and the price of goods is steadily increasing.

He then pointed out problems he has noticed in the city, such as a broken sidewalk on his street and the lack of road maintenance.

“I drive on some of these streets of this town. The smoothest drive is on the bottom of potholes,” Mansfield said.

When Mansfield touched on the rumor around town is that the city has no money, Guy said that rumor, and the comments based on that rumor at last week’s budget hearing, reminds him of a story he read to his grandson recently, Chicken Little. Guy said the comments shared at last weeks public hearing make him believe that people in the city want the city to go broke because of political aspirations those citizens may have.

“Stop being Chicken Little’s every time a nut falls on (their) heads,” Guy said. Mansfleld misunderstood Guy’s comment, taking it personally.

“You just did a thing that insults me to no end. I’ve never been political at this or any other place,” Mansfield said.

After Guy assured Mansfield he was not referring to him the motion to approve the budget was approved.

Tax rolls for the city and the county were also approved by the council in consecutive motions.