Possibility of city water system upgrades

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 28, 2015

As the city continues to grow and prosper, so does the need to continually maintain the aspects that are essential for quality of life.  Mayor Pinero and our city council challenged us to establish a quality of life that attracts families and businesses to the city of Picayune. It is my job as city manager to carry out their wishes through our department heads in an efficient and cost effective manner. As we all experience rising costs of living in our personal lives, we must decide to give priority to the ones that matter most, and then decide what is the most cost effective way to do so.  While we can all agree that the things we see while driving the streets of the city catch our attention the most, we must also consider the things we do not see, such as the quality of transportation of essential utilities in our homes such as natural gas, electricity, and water. The time has come to concentrate on our city’s water system. Per my instructions, Dungan Engineering, the public works department and the city clerk’s office have performed research that reveals an estimated $20 million water improvement project may be necessary. The details of the project were announced in the public budget hearing on Aug. 25. In short, the project will eliminate $37,000 in lost water production costs and $63,000 in manpower, which is spent to continually repair our aged water system.

The City Hall staff is working together to explore every avenue that will produce funds to accomplish this project. I am proud to announce that we received a letter this month from Gov. Phil Bryant’s office that the city of Picayune has been awarded a CDBG (Community Development Block Grant), which will make possible $1,000,000 worth of water system upgrades in a portion of Precinct IV. However, Precinct IV is not the only precinct in need of water system upgrades.

Therefore, we must continue to push the envelope to produce the funds needed for upgrades in the remaining portions of the city. As our city council considers all options, such as additional federal funds that might become available or an adjustment in water rates, I encourage each of our residents and business owners to do the same. I and my staff members will be happy to answer any and all questions regarding this proposal in the upcoming days leading to the final decision.

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By Jim Luke, city manager.