Council handles routine matters with two members still missing

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Two members of the Picayune City Council were absent for their third meeting in a row Tuesday night as the Council handled routine matters.

Pearl River County Library System Director Carol Phares thanked the Council for its support in the recent past, saying that’s why she did not speak during the most recent budget proceedings.

In the recent past, the Council paid to have the floors of the lobby redone, and conducted repairs to the roof. Phares said that any time the library needed something, the city manager and public works director were there to help.

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She also shared some good news with the Council. According to recent statistics released by the state, the Pearl River County Library System ranks seventh out of 235 systems in the state in terms of items being checked out. She said those stats do not include computer usage at the library.

She also commended the library’s volunteers, who have put in more than 3,000 hours over the past year.

“We have friends who work really hard on our behalf,” Phares said.

In a separate matter Rene Davis, community outreach educator with the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence spoke to the Council about the importance of being unified against domestic violence. After the Council approved a motion to proclaim October as domestic violence awareness month, she gave some background on the organization. She said it was recently renamed to designate that the center provides services to men and women in the six county area. There are two centers, one in Harrison County and another in Jackson County, but there are offices throughout the district so counselors can travel to meet with people in need.

Wendy’s General Manager Shane Smith also addressed the Council to provide an update about the upcoming Trunk or Treat, set for Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Friendship Park. He said that last year about 3,000 people attended the event, and this year he expects that number to almost double.

He has also received a positive response from the business community. Last year 23 businesses participated in the event, but this year 56 have already committed.

At the end of the meeting, the Council was asked what regulations are in place to ensure elected officials show up to meetings and if there was recourse to replace members who regularly don’t attend meetings. Councilors Larry Breland and Lynn Bogan Bumpers have been absent from the last three meetings after they abruptly left a meeting held on Sept. 15 to approve the budget. It appeared their exit was in protest to their requests not being approved for the budget, including installation of a fence at the cemetery on Eighth Street.

City Attorney Nathan Farmer said he could not respond to the question at that time because he would have to research the matter.

The next meeting will be Oct. 17 at 5 p.m.