City trying to save tax dollars

Published 4:51 pm Wednesday, November 19, 2008

City officials are attempting to save some tax dollars by getting other entities to pay for electrical usage that may not be the city’s responsibility.

Working with employees of Mississippi Power, the city has been able to identify some power consumption areas that may not be the responsibility of the city. Mississippi Power Governmental Account Manager Kathy Reeves said the increase in rates and the current economy prompted the city to ask the company to find some areas where the city could save a few dollars.

Reeve’s research showed the city could ask some other entities to take over some areas of electricity usage, such as asking the state to cover traffic light electricity usage on state and federal roads and asking the Utility Authority to cover usage at sewer lift stations. Reeves said she also looked at ways to cut down usage in city owned buildings.

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Of all the trimming Reeves checked into, she estimated that if those agencies agree, the city could cut down on as much as $12,000 of electricity usage a year. The council made a motion to contact the agencies to try work something out.

A matter that was tabled at the last meeting, a conditional use request by Marie Gilcrease to place a mobile home in the city limits on Gilcrease Avenue, was approved with some conditions. Conditions included installation of skirting on the mobile home. Also, upon Gilcrease’s death, or the sale or rental of the property to another party, the conditional use expires and the mobile home is removed.

The council also decided to let the naming of a new Planning Commission chair person be handled by letting the commission recommend its own choice. After council member Larry Watkins made a motion to appoint Dennis Collier to the chair, council member Jerry Bounds made a motion to allow commission members appoint their own chair person. Watkins rescinded his motion and the council voted on Bounds’ motion, which was approved. The council will have to approve the appointment.

The council voted to appoint J.P. Burns to the election commission to replace Janice Young, who is moving out of the county. Initially, council member Leavern Guy made a motion to table the matter, then Bounds made a motion to appoint Burns to the position. Guy’s motion ended in a tie vote with three for and three against. The council then approved Bounds’ motion to appoint Burns, Guy opposed the motion to appoint Burns. Another appointment to the election commission to replace Sandra Houston, who does not wish to serve any longer, was tabled earlier in the meeting.

East Canal Street may be paved all the way from U.S. 11 to the intersection of Mississippi 43 South, if the city’s request to modify its application for a Katrina Community Development Block Grant is approved. The city has requested $2.5 million to conduct the work and approved modifying the grant application.

A request to add six more Mississippi Emergency Management Agency cottages to a parcel located at 600 S. Haugh Ave. was denied by the council. Grant Administrator Barbara McGrew said there are already eight cottages at that location, which is the maximum number allowed under the current zoning for the area, R4. If the request had been approved, there would have been 14 cottages at the location. Current cottages and their residents will not be removed, council member Anna Turnage said.

Before the council meeting began, the city showed off two new fire trucks worth about $720,000. Fire Chief Keith Brown said the city was able to acquire the trucks through careful planning and fire insurance rebate checks. Typically, fire trucks are retired after 20 to 25 years of service. One of the new trucks will be placed at the fire station being built on South Loftin Avenue and the other will be placed at Fire Station #3.

The council went into executive session to discuss contractual matters with Picayune Main Street, Picayune Airport, SPCA, a land and deed dispute, bond issues, Charter Communications, Picayune Intermodal Center and to find some compromises on disputed claims. Decisions on these matters were unavailable at press time Tuesday night.

In other business the council;

— Approved advertising for bids to conduct repairs to the Friendship park parking lot. Chevron will pay for the repairs to the lot. Repairs will take place where the company anchored mobile homes after Hurricane Katrina.

— Guy invited community members to attend the next Shop Picayune Leakage meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Dec. 4, in the council chambers. The intention of the meetings is to get ideas on how to keep people shopping in Picayune.

— Approved a budget amendment to the city’s budget for fiscal year 2009.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Dec. 2.