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Council moves to cover deep ditches, apply for oil spill losses

Picayune City Council members approved motions to cover deep ditches along Cooper Road and to hire a public adjusting firm to file a claim with British Petroleum for lost revenue due to the oil spill in 2010. A ditch along Cooper Road poses a safety hazard, especially just before the entrance to The Garden District subdivision. With no shoulder, the asphalt goes straight into a ditch with a drop of between 3.5 and 4 feet, said City Engineer Brooks Wallace. Work to rectify the problem will involve installing plastic culverts in the ditch, covering them and installing drainage to the culverts for about 750 feet, Wallace said. Estimated cost of the project is $70,000, funds that will come from the city wide paving project already underway. Council member Jason Todd Lane made a motion to approve the project, with a stipulation that the cost of the project not exceed $70,000. The motion was approved unanimously. City Clerk Amber Hinton told the council she expects to have to present the council with an amended budget soon because sales tax revenue has been down. The city is short $11,000 from what was projected to this point in the fiscal year, meaning changes to the budget will need to be made. The council also approved a motion to enter into an agreement with Scott M. Farve to represent the city in possibly filing a claim against British Petroleum for loss of revenue associated with the Gulf oil spill. City Operations Manager Harvey Miller said that based on what other cities have received after submitting similar claims, Picayune could be awarded between $545,814 to $710,899 for loss of revenue. There are now 14 restaurants within the city that can serve liquor by the drink, although the 14th is not yet open. The council approved a motion to allow Applebees to sell beer and light wine and drinks containing liquor. The new restaurant is scheduled to open April 23. Planning and Zoning Director Diane Miller said with that approval, there are now 14 restaurants with permits to sell liquor by the drink. Other recent additions to that list are End Zone Bar and Grill on Elizabeth Street, JD’s Bistro on Sycamore Road, Fatty’s Seafood on U.S. Highway 11, Southern Char Steakhouse on West Canal Street and Staten’s Bar B Que on East Canal Street. The council went into executive session to discuss a disputed claim. When the council returned to open session, Hinton said it had approved a motion to pay $2,483 for damage caused to a private vehicle by a pothole. In other business the council: — Approved sale of a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado to M & W Auto Sales for $3,600, the highest bid received for the vehicle. — Denied low bids for several lots, and approved motions to re-list those lots. The next council meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 1.