Council members bicker over local shopping

Published 3:07 pm Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Two council members struck a nerve with each other during Tuesday’s meeting.

Picayune’s city council meeting was routine and uneventful until the end of the meeting where each council member had an opportunity to share their concerns or comments.

Council member Leavern Guy shared his thoughts first, asking community members to attend the next Shop Picayune Meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday in the council chambers. He said the focus of the meeting will be to gather information on ways to keep people shopping in Picayune, therefore funding the city’s budget.

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When it was council member Jerry Bound’s turn he mentioned that Picayune Main Street will be hosting the Shop By Candlelight event Dec. 5, where the community is urged to shop at local stores. Bounds said that Picayune Main Street has been doing events such as these for a number of years in an effort to keep tax dollars from going to other areas while promoting local businesses.

Guy became offended by Bound’s comment which Guy took as an attack that he was attempting to take credit for creating the effort to keep tax dollars in the city.

“Go ahead and show your ignorance then,” Guy said.

Bounds said he did not have a problem with what Guy was attempting to do, but he did have a problem with the comment that Guy made to him and asked for an apology. Guy said he did not feel an apology was in order.

“You insinuation that I am trying to take credit for Shop Picayune insults me,” Guy said.

Council member Donald Parker then interjected that the council should be more focused on the future, and not the past. Mayor Greg Mitchell agreed and said that less sales tax collected in the city causes the city to have to make cuts, leading to stiffer budgets.

Later in the meeting J.P. Burns asked when the smoking and noise ordinances will go into effect. City employee Leeann Smith said the noise ordinance went into effect Monday, but the smoking ordinance has yet to be published. Once it is published then the ordinance will go into effect 30 days after that date. The smoking ordinance is waiting on clarification from Council Attorney Nathan Farmer’s office.

Earlier in the meeting the Picayune Youth Athletic Association asked for permission to name a softball field after the late Laken Lumpkin, who died a few months ago in a tragic golf cart accident. Lumpkin was a softball player with PYAA and her parents are still active in the organization, said PYAA vice president Winston Walker.

“It would be an honor for this family and this child that played at that field at Friendship Park,” Interim City Manager Harvey Miller said.

The council approved the motion to name the field after Lumpkin. The sign to designate the field in Lumpkin’s name will be made of metal and placed under the score board at the appropriate softball field at Friendship Park, Walker said.

A hole in East Canal left after sewer repairs were conducted under the street has been repaved. Public Works Director Chad Frierson said the repairs took 60 tons of asphalt at $66 a ton.

The council went into executive session to discuss contractual matters dealing with a land and deed dispute and bond issues. They also discussed possible litigation with a tax matter and an interlocal agreement with the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors to repave Amelia Street. Decisions on the matters discussed in executive session were unavailable at press time Tuesday evening.

In other business the council;

— Authorized the fire department to surplus two fire trucks that are out of service due to mechanical problems.

— Accepted an agreement between the city and Hartman Engineering for professional services amounting to $86,000 to prepare an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency for grant funds to conduct drainage infrastructure improvements. If the grant is approved then the engineering fees will be reimbursed.

— Accepted a bid from Stranco Inc. for $273,956 to construct an access road to AGT which will be funded by Community Development Block Grant Katrina supplemental funds.

The next meeting of the city council will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 16.