Picayune officials are headed to Washington
By Will Sullivan
The Picayune City Council unanimously approved a trip by Mayor Ed Pinero and council members to Washington, D.C. at its Tuesday night meeting.
Pinero and at least three council members are planning to visit U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker and U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-4th Miss., whose district includes Picayune and Pearl River County. The group will be in Washington Feb. 13-16.
Before the vote approving the trip, Council Member Wayne Gouguet asked how much the trip costs and what the city had gotten out of previous trips. The trip was estimated to cost about $4,000 for the four who had indicated they would make the trip.
Council Member Larry Breland and city employees in the audience responded that funds to make improvements to Cooper Road and Memorial Boulevard were among the numerous projects in both Picayune and Pearl River County had benefitted from federal funds used on the projects.
Michael Caples, an attorney with Butler Snow in Jackson, estimated that the city had gotten between $4 million and $5 million over the past two years in federal funds as a result of the trips city officials make annually to Washington lobbying for the funds.
“If we’re not there trying to get our money, it will go to some other county or some other states,” said Pinero.
“When we go to get something, it is well worth it,” said Breland. “We always see Sen. Cochran and Mr. Palazzo. I wouldn’t go if it wasn’t worth it.”
Council Member Janice Stevens said she wanted to visit with the two senators and Palazzo to thank them for a grant Pearl River Community College received that affects her area in health related curricula and to ask them for help in other areas with grants.
The members planning to make the trip as of Wednesday night’s meeting are Pinero, Breland, Lynn Bumpers and Stevens. Gouguet said he wasn’t going, though he voted for the trip, and Tammy Valente was reported out with the flu.
Pinero said the only reason for going was work, “This isn’t for recreation. Anyone who knows Washington knows that right now it’s bitterly cold and miserable.”
In other business, the council:
— Learned that an economic update by AEG (Bell Avon) had to be put off until the council’s next meeting, which is in February.
— Approved the proposal for Butler Snow to provide governmental relations legal counsel to the City.
— Approved a contract Professional Probation Services for counsel in misdemeanor cases.
— Approved an alcohol countermeasures grant.
— Approved request for an occupation protection grant.
— Approved a permit for Rosabells’ Southern Kitchen to sell beer and light wine.
— Declared a parcel of property on Westchester Drive to be a nuisance and in need of cleanup.
— Approved extending the date of completion for the old hospital demolition project to March 5.
— Approved a preliminary engineering contract for the Memorial Boulevard overlay and the Mississippi Highway 43 lighting project.
— Learned that T.L. Wallace has filed an appeal with Circuit Court of the city’s rejection of all bids on the gas pipeline replacement project.
Adjourned until Tuesday, Feb. 4.