City Manager update

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 3, 2018

By Jim Luke 

Fiscal Year 2017 was a rewarding year with the completion of many projects and the accomplishment of the City Clerk Amber Hinton receiving her  International  Institute of Municipal Clerks Master Clerk designation. Only 11 cities in the state of Mississippi employ clerks with this designation.

Sales tax diversions proved to be rewarding this year with a growth of 3 percent over last year.

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This increase was most valuable to the city since the Council made the hard decision of reducing the millage to offset the rise in property valuations. Once again, the city acted with fiscal responsibility to ensure fairness to its citizens while maintaining stellar operations. Crosby Commons, a one mill on the dollar plus project, which the majority of the project was funded with grants from the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation and Mississippi Department of Transportation, is now complete and open to the public. The city is working diligently to enact an ordinance and rate  structure that allows us to sustain the park for years to come.  This premier park is unique and one of a kind.  With proper marketing and management, this will be the top spot for outdoor venues in South Mississippi.

With the completion of upgrades to the major components of the gas system, the city continues to overhaul the water system. A three-million-dollar state revolving fund loan was approved for the upgrading of water lines. Construct on this project should begin this year.

When I started as City Manager in 2011 I was challenged by the Mayor and Council to add value to the Historic Downtown area. I have met with Picayune Main Street Board of Directors and Downtown shop owners asking what their needs and concerns were. One concern that I kept hearing was the need for more parking. So, my Team and I went to work researching different state agencies for grants that would be able to assist us in our vision for downtown parking. I‘m proud to say that over the past 8 years we have been able to add 4 different downtown parking areas for a total of 72 parking spots in downtown Picayune.