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HVAC repair, lawn care and tax revenue discussed by Picayune School Board of Trustees

Picayune School District’s Board of Trustees discussed a contract for the lawn care on 16th section land, approved the purchase of several HVAC units for three campuses and discussed the anticipated decline in tax collections.
Finance Director Lisa Persick said a bid sent in by Timberstone Outdoors was improperly refused at a previous meeting due to an error on her part. She said that when she initially read the bid it looked high so it was declined. After further review at the behest of a Board member, she noticed the bid was for the full three years of the contract. After reviewing the contract, which when calculated for an annual rate came to $6,420, she brought it before the Board Tuesday because it was less than the District’s previous contractor’s rate of $8,342 annually.
Persick said the new contract includes an additional fee of $1,250 annually to remove limbs.
Board President Frank Ford asked Persick to request copies of the company’s insurance to ensure workman’s compensation insurance premiums are at $1 million in each of the three categories.
Approval of the contract is contingent on proof of those insurance levels.
The Board also approved the purchase of several HVAC systems for three campuses. Persick said the total cost of the units came to $368,000, which includes systems for the Junior High, High School and Career and Technical Center campuses. Superintendent Dean Shaw said the units will be installed by District maintenance employees, which will mean a major cost savings.
The motion also included approval of installation of insulation on the ceiling of the Junior High gym, costing about $32,000.
Concern about the funding levels from tax collections was also discussed. Board Member David Mooneyhan said that he is concerned about the long term effects shelter in place orders as part of the COVID-19 pandemic will have on property values due to an anticipated recession. While he doesn’t foresee the closures having an immediate impact on the economy, he anticipates property values will decline in the coming years.
Persick said the state provides the bulk of the District’s funding, but a recession could affect the state’s budget as well, thereby affecting how much funding the state sets aside for education.
Jim Keith, who is acting as the District’s interim legal counsel, suggested the Board start putting away every penny it could possibly save to establish a rainy day fund to get through the anticipated shortfalls in tax collections.
The Board also asked about damage to a police car that occurred recently. Persick said the damage was caused by a woman who backed into the vehicle’s rear door while it was parked near the high school gym. The officer was not in the vehicle at the time, but was in the area. Persick said the driver’s insurance company has reimbursed the District for cost to repair the damage.