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City Council amends liquor ordinance

Businesses interested in selling liquor by the drink no longer have to pay a $3,000 fee to the city of Picayune.
During Tuesday’s meeting the city council approved a motion to amend the city’s liquor ordinance.
The one time fee was imposed in anticipation of the higher costs the city would incur in the enforcement and administration of the ordinance, said city attorney Nathan Farmer.
However, the city also receives half of an annual permit fee paid by businesses to the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control. City Clerk Amber Hinton said the state collects $900 annually from businesses that sell liquor, of which $450 is sent to the city. That produces about $3,600 for the city each year, she said.
The city collected about $39,000 from their $3,000 permit, all of which will be reimbursed to the businesses, Hinton said.
Those funds were put into a separate account, which has not been touched, Hinton said.
The change was necessary because since the city could not prove their permitting fee was covering any additional costs, it would have then been considered a tax, Farmer said.
Hinton said there are eight businesses that still serve liquor by the drink in Picayune, the rest have since closed.
In another matter, Fire Chief Keith Brown updated the council about a $10,500 grant from Mississippi Homeland Security. Brown said the grant will be used to purchase six or seven digital band radios that will allow the department to utilize the Mississippi Wireless Information Network. The council approved acceptance of the 100 percent grant funding.
During a public hearing concerning blighted property in the city, council members heard from Joseph Beverly, who owns an old funeral home located on N. Jackson Avenue. He said his plan is to renovate the building in order to establish a Christian academy. But after Mayor Ed Pinero Jr., looked at the photos of the building, he advised Beverly that he would spend less money tearing the building down and starting from scratch. Pinero, who is also the Pearl River County Planning and Development Director, said due to the dilapidated state the building is in, it would need to be brought up to the 2009 building codes before it could be used again, which would be an expensive endeavor. Beverly decided to work with the council and see about tearing the building down. The council granted him 60 days to begin the process.
During the council member’s concerns section of the meeting, council member Janice Miller Stevens commended the placement of the new Fallen Solider monument on Goodyear Boulevard and the ceremony that followed.
Council member Lynn Bogan Bumpers would like to invite the less fortunate to have Thanksgiving dinner with the Pilgrim Bound and Weem’s Chapel Youth Groups on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pilgrim Bound Baptist Church.
The next council meeting will be Dec. 2 at 5 p.m.