Picayune Main Street members hear from city officials about improvements
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Openness and accountability in city government was the theme at the Picayune Main Street membership meeting Thursday.
City Manager Jim Luke kicked off the presentation with a statement that the current city administration took office with the goal of not only being open, but fiscally responsible.
He also said that the previous administration’s habit of holding meetings before Council meetings to “get our story straight,” is no longer practiced by the current administration.
“Now, pretty much what you see is what you get,” Luke said about the proceedings at Council meetings.
One of the wisest decisions the Council HAS made while in office was to “bring City Hall home,” by demolishing the old A.L. Franklin annex to make room for the 10,000 square foot addition to historic City Hall, Luke said.
He also commended city employees for their hard work. Luke said that Public Works Director Eric Morris’ work to reduce natural gas loss in the city has eliminated the need for city crews to spend $100,000 annually to patch the system. That was achieved through a natural gas line replacement project.
Councilman Wayne Gouguet said that the work has cut natural gas loss to about 10 percent. Luke said prior to the work to replace old gas lines, it was estimated the city was losing about 42 percent of that utility.
Gouguet also commended City Clerk Amber Hinton for her efforts to keep the city fiscally responsible. Her efforts have led to the city now having $2.4 million in reserve to cover emergencies.
Also, $350,000 in fire insurance rebate money issued to the city will soon be invested into the construction of a new fire station at the end of Goodyear Boulevard. That station will replace the old station on Palestine Road next to the SPCA. Gouguet alluded to the possibility of the old building being donated to the SPCA.
Other improvements discussed included a possible parking lot near City Hall next to Mickle’s Pickles and a parking lot across the street from Stonewall’s Barbecue, to be funded with future grants. Luke also said that there are plans to install the decorative street signs in the historic section of the city in the areas of Curran and Haugh avenues. The plan is to add five of the signs per year over the course of 10 years.