Council’s plans for next term

Published 7:00 am Friday, July 7, 2017

Picayune’s City Council members have several goals they would like to achieve during their next term.
Most of the Councilors said they would like to focus on economic development and improve the city’s infrastructure.
Councilor Wayne Gouguet said that during his past two terms, the Council has focused on infrastructure, repairing all of the city’s roads and replacing aging natural gas lines. He said he would like to see the administration continue that trend by fixing roads that handle heavy traffic, address drainage issues and repair the city’s water system.
While accomplishing those things, Gouguet said he would like the Council to continue its current trend of not raising taxes. He feels that by focusing on economic development, sales taxes will continue to rise and the city will see increases in ad valorem taxes.
“You can’t keep going up on (ad valorem) taxes. If we keep going up on taxes, we’re killing economic development,” Gouguet said.
Mayor Ed Pinero agrees that taxes don’t need to increase.
Pinero would also like to see some business owners along Highway 11 spruce up their storefronts. He hopes they will use the storefronts along East and West Canal Streets as examples of enticing facades.
Councilor Jan Stevens is starting her second term, and said she is looking forward to Highway 11 being widened. She feels that improvement will help spur development in the area of Highland Parkway, and thereby provide more services to the residents of the north end of the city.
As work to Crosby Commons continues, Stevens said she is also looking forward to the opportunities the new park will provide.
She too would like to see sales tax collections continue to rise, so one day the Council can provide raises to city employees. Working on economic development to attract a large industry would go a long way to increasing sales tax collections. The major hurdle there is finding a way to compete with surrounding areas to attract large industries, Stevens said.
Councilor Tammy Valente agrees that by increasing sales tax collections, the city’s administration can provide all employees with what they need to succeed. To increase those sales taxes, economic development should be the Council’s primary goal.
Valente would also like to see the current beautification efforts in the downtown area expanded so that people passing through Picayune on Interstate 59 will take notice.
“…so that when people drive down the interstate they will see that Picayune has something to offer before even getting off at an exit,” Valente said.
Councilor Lynn Bogan Bumpers agrees that city employee pay needs to increase. She would also like to see the city find a way to lower the cost of health insurance to those employees and somehow bring a Boys and Girls Club to town.
Other goals Bumpers would like to see achieved include establishing a public pool for the city, bring in better paying jobs, and work with the Picayune School Board of Trustees to provide a better education.
“We can do all things through Christ,” Bumpers said.

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