Council appoints board members

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 6, 2014

Members of Picayune’s city council approved separate motions to appoint a member to the library board and the Picayune Separate Municipal School District board.

During Tuesday’s meeting council members appointed Curtis Gasper to the Margaret Reed Crosby Library board. Gasper is the general manager of a retail store.

In a separate motion, which Mayor Ed Pinero Jr. recused himself from because his wife works for the school district, Frank Ford was appointed to the school board. Ford is the Risk Manager for Huey Stockstill Inc. He will replace outgoing board member Patti Stewart. That motion was approved by all council members still in the council chambers except Wayne Gouguet, who abstained from voting.

The council also approved a budget amendment request to replace a piece of external heating and air conditioning equipment on the historic side of city hall that was damaged during the last ice storm. Public Works Director Eric Morris said it was better to replace the damaged equipment instead of attempting a repair.

“Repair was so close to replacement cost it just didn’t make sense to do anything else,” Morris said.

The council also approved moving forward with applying for funding to complete the overlay of Memorial Boulevard. An overlay project conducted years ago only had enough funds to overlay Memorial Boulevard from the intersection of U.S. 11 to the intersection of East Jerusalem Avenue. The city is applying for funds that will complete that overlay to Interstate 59.

City Engineer Brooks Wallace said the project will also provide funds to install new street lights along Memorial Boulevard from U.S. 11 to I-59. The lights will be similar to the ones installed on Highland Commons.

While the project is currently in the design phase, Wallace said he estimates the cost to be about $310,000 and the project to enter the contract phase by September of this year. Construction should begin shortly after the contract is let and take about four months to complete, Wallace said.

The city is also requesting funds to install sidewalks as part of the Safe Routes program. Funding for one set of sidewalks near Westside Elementary have been approved and the contract for that project will be let by June of 2015. The work will install sidewalks along Sixth Avenue from Kirkwood to the Housing Authority. That project is estimated to cost $120,000.

Requested funding will conduct similar work in the areas of South Side and Roseland Park schools, Wallace said.

Work to renovate the water tower at the city barn was also approved. Wallace said once that work is complete it should give the water tower another 10 to 12 years of service.

Council member Larry Breland took a moment to commended the Picayune Fire and Police departments for their professional handling of a recent accident near Clover Circle.

“They showed a lot of concern and that goes a long way when something like that happens,” Breland said.

Council member Wayne Gouguet asked what the policy is concerning “can shakes” held at major intersections in the city. Operations Manager Harvey Miller said typically anyone wanting to conduct a “can shake” should request permission from the city in the form of a letter, which the city manager would then sign off on and pass to the police department. Miller said there have been times when “can shakes” were conducted without prior permission, and were subsequently asked by police to cease operation. However, most “can shakes” benefit credible organizations in the city.

The next city council meeting will be 5 p.m. March 17.