Council approves litter ordinance
The council adopted a more stringent version of Picayune’s litter ordinance, discussed applying for grant funding to build a train depot platform and discussed widening a concrete drainage ditch along Monroe Branch during Tuesday’s meeting.
City Attorney Nathan Farmer said the new ordinance adds a civil statute, in addition to the already established criminal penalties. However, the ordinance does not state what the civil penalties are, only the criminal penalties. Criminal penalties will be a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 90 days in jail. Conviction of the crime can also entail 40 to 100 hours of community service, the ordinance states.
Farmer said the code enforcement officer would be responsible for enforcing the civil side. The council unanimously approved the new ordinance. Additional details on the ordinance will be covered in a subsequent story.
Council members approved reapplying for funds under the U.S. Department of Transportation Tiger Discretionary grant. If approved, the funds would be used to build a platform at the Train Depot for use by Amtrack passengers.
Grants Administrator Christy Goss said the city applied for this grant two years ago, but was denied. The cost to build the platform two years ago was estimated to be $1.2 million, Goss said.
FEMA funding will be used to widen a drainage ditch along Monroe Branch. The contract was awarded to the lowest bidder, Gulf Coast Custom Homes, who bid $307,000.
City Engineer Brooks Wallace said the estimated price to conduct the work was $380,000. The work will widen the concrete ditch from Mitchell Street to South Steele Avenue to 12 feet and add a culvert to the area of Ausborn Road.
Wallace said the company has no experience in widening a concrete ditch, but will subcontract the job out.
The ditch transports storm water from the area of Woodglen Cove towards the Hobolochitto Creek. The work will begin in a month if not sooner, and should be complete six months after it begins.
Council member Lynn Bumpers expressed her displeasure that the work would not take place closer to Monroe Street where flooding also occurs.
“Well, I’m very disappointed with this,” Bumpers said. “When I saw Monroe Branch (on the agenda) I got excited. This is just a slap in the face tonight.”
Public Works Director Eric Morris said he put a request in the budget to clean out the area Bumpers is concerned about, but the request was not approved.
Morris said he will work with Bumpers to clean the section of the drainage feature.
Representatives with Liberty Restoration Community Development Corporation addressed the council about their efforts to help low to middle income senior citizens and retired veterans receive aid to repair their homes.
Executive Director Willie Cage said the organization works with Bank Plus to provide loans to seniors 55 years and older.
Most repairs covered under their program entail roof repairs, installation of wheelchair ramps and electrical work and can range from $10,000 to $15,000.
Applications for the program are available at the Picayune branch of Bank Plus. The deadline to apply is March 25.
Details on additional matters covered during Tuesday’s meeting will follow in a subsequent story.
The next council meeting will be 5 p.m. April 1.