Picayune’s City Council approves budget with reduced millage

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 9, 2016

During Tuesday’s meeting, the Picayune City Council adopted their budget for the next fiscal year.
Of that budget, $22.2 million will be generated from a combination of ad valorem tax ($3.1 million), proceeds from loans ($3.5 million), the sale of city owned lots ($20,000), intergovernmental revenues ($7.5 million), licenses and permits ($686,340) and charges for services ($5.3 million), among others. They reported having $8.4 million in beginning cash, for a total budget of $30.6 million.
Expenses for the coming year are budgeted to be $1.3 million in general government, $2.9 million for the police department, $2.6 million for public works, $2.2 million for the fire department, $259,516 for the office of the director of public works, $858,209 for the utility department’s administration, $6 million for the operations within the water department, $2.6 million for natural gas operations, $880,000 to cover garbage collections, $364,532 for economic development, $684,829 for operation of the municipal airport and $109,117 for the maintenance of the cemeteries. All told, the city expects to incur $23.9 million in expenses, leaving them with a $6.7 million cash balance at the end of the next fiscal year.
Before members of the Council adopted that budget, Councilor Larry Breland expressed his discontent with the Council not increasing taxes in order to provide city employees with a raise.
“It’s kind of like a broken record. We say ‘we need you,’ but when it comes time to show how much we care, we don’t do it,” Breland said.
He said that the city is losing employees due to the fact surrounding agencies and employers offer more pay, including garbage handlers.
After the discussion, the council passed a motion to adopt the new budget, with Breland and Councilor Lynn Bogan Bumpers voting against the matter. Mayor Ed Pinero and Councilors Wayne Gouguet, Tammy Valente and Janice Miller Stevens all voted for approving the budget as it was presented.
In other matters, the Council also approved a motion to designate Fire Chief Keith Brown as the city of Picayune’s representative in the development of the District 9 Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan and approved a motion for the city to participate in the statewide program. Brown said participation in the statewide program will save the city money in the development of a hazard mitigation plan.
The next Council meeting will be Sept. 20, at 5 p.m. in City Hall.

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