Council approves proposed budget with added officer, no millage increase

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A proposed budget and tax levy was passed during Tuesday’s Picayune City Council meeting.

City Clerk Amber Hinton said the budget includes funding to provide an additional employee within the Picayune Police Department. Assistant Chief Dustin Moeller confirmed that employee would be assigned to the patrol division, if that budget is approved.

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That change increased the department’s budget by $51,253 when compared to a proposed budget presented during budget workshops held last week, during which police department heads requested six additional personnel to deal with the ever increasing call volume.

The proposed budget approved by the Council on Tuesday totals $37.1 million, of which $22 million would come from various sources of revenue combined with $15.1 million in beginning cash. Of that $22 million, $3.5 million will come from ad valorem revenue, according to information available during Tuesday’s meeting.

Picayune’s Police Department is proposed to receive about $3.3 million, the Fire Department will receive $2.6 million, public works will receive $2.3 million, and general government will receive $1.8 million. About $6 million was set aside for “economic development.” The remainder will be used by other city offices and cover supplies and other expenses.

By the end of the next fiscal year, the city is anticipating having about $9 million in the ending cash balance account. Millage increases were not proposed by either the Council or Picayune School Board. The Council approved both proposed millage rates, which were reported to be 38.61 and 61.01 respectively.

Hinton said the Council is expected to give final approval of the proposed budget during the Sept. 3 meeting.

In other business, the Council approved making a change to the city’s code of ordinances concerning the “removal, impoundment, towing and storing of vehicles.” When asked, Code Enforcement Officer Tom Milar said the change to the ordinance will allow the city to use the state’s list of approved towing services when a vehicle needs to be removed from public roadways due to a collision or other issue. By using the state’s approved list, it will free up an employee within the Picayune Police Department to conduct other work.

“It takes a lot of load off the Picayune Police Department,” Milar said.

Which towing service is used will still be at the discretion of the vehicle owner should they request a specific company.

The Council also approved a motion to approve a travel request for Municipal Court Clerk Lisa Albritton to attend a court technology conference in New Orleans from Sept. 9 to 12th. Albritton said the conference will provide her with information about the latest technology that could save the city time and money.

The next Council meeting will be Sept. 3 at 5 p.m. in City Hall.