Palazzo meets with local leaders

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Congressman Steven Palazzo made a stop into Picayune Tuesday to hear the community out on important topics.
During his visit to the council chambers at City Hall, he shared his concerns and listened to those from city and county leaders.
Palazzo said he is concerned about the country’s $19 trillion debt, which is not declining. He said if the current trend continues, he fears the country will never be able to repay the debt.
Although, he said two thirds of that money is being spent on “autopilot”, or rather on entitlement spending such as Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare.
As a member of the Appropriations Committee, he hopes to be able to look at how funds are being spent, and work towards bringing them in line.
Public Works Director Eric Morris discussed the city’s recent mandate that they do a self-evaluation on sidewalks. That assessment showed the city would have to spend about $2 million to bring them all up to ADA specifications or build them where they are missing.
While the city has been able to earmark some funding to begin working on the project, Morris asked if federal funding was available.
Palazzo agreed that it seems unfair to make a city meet certain requirements but not provide the funding to do so.
“I think the government’s looking for busy work,” Palazzo said.
Code Enforcement Officer Tom Milar said the self-assessment came into play when the Mississippi Department of Transportation discovered the city had received grant funds, but the assessment had not been completed. If the self-assessment had not been conducted then the city was in jeopardy of losing future grant funding.
Palazzo said there are other matters the government needs to be concerned with than self-assessments, such as saving programs that are in jeopardy.
“I think saving Social Security is more important than punishing Picayune,” Palazzo said.
Milar also asked about tax breaks for families taking care of their elderly parents, Police Chief Bryan Dawsey asked about assistance to local law enforcement agencies, Operations Director Harvey Miller asked about help with economic development and Airport Manager Andy Greenwood asked about regulations being revamped on medical regulations for pilots, and increased funding to help airports maintain and improve their infrastructure. Palazzo promised to look into those topics.
City Manager Jim Luke asked about stiffening punishments for those that attack law enforcement officers. Palazzo said he too would like to see stiffer punishments for those that attack officers of the law.

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