Picayune’s Precinct I candidates share stances

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 12, 2021

The candidates running for the office of Precinct 1 Councilor in Picayune spoke with the Item to answer predetermined questions.

Antha Mitchell

Antha Mitchell, a local Realtor, said she chose to run for office so she could be a voice. She feels the city needs more transparency, accountability and growth.

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As a Relator, she said that her job is to sell Picayune as a place to live and work and while she would like to see the city grow to include the conveniences of areas such as Slidell, La., she does not want Picayune to be just like that city.

The challenges she sees within the city include drainage issues in the Millbrook subdivision and lack of park maintenance. She would like to work with the Public Works Department to have those issues addressed and also impose on the residents that they can have a part in keeping the city clean and maintained.

Her priorities include working with the county’s economic development director to sell the city to newcomers and help the city grow by utilizing land to develop more upscale subdivisions that will draw in more middle to upper middle class families. That will in turn increase the tax base for schools to better meet the needs of students and provide more opportunities.

Another hurdle she feels is keeping the city from attracting businesses is the lack of enforcement with the city’s sign and junk yard ordinances.

“We need to enforce those rules or we won’t be able to bring in businesses,” Mitchell said.

She feels she is qualified to be in office because of her experience as a Realtor, her service on the Public Housing Board since 2019 and her ability to look at the city’s issues through the eyes of a citizen, not as a politician.

Mitchell would like to see the city’s tax dollars used to help with growth, establishing better communication with businesses and increase parking in the city.

She is not for increasing taxes or annexation of more land, but she does want to see the downtown area expanded beyond its current boundaries.

While she would have to recuse herself for matters concerning the Picayune Fire Department since she is married to a battalion chief, she supports the efforts of all first responders.

Anna Turnage

Anna Turnage is an educator with the Picayune School District and former Councilor. She said wants to be elected because she has always had an interest in public service just like her grandmother.

Some of the challenges she sees the city facing include litter along the street sides, drainage issues, and a lack of self promotion by the city’s leaders.

Turnage would like to see the city grow to improve the tax base, but in a planned manner that will maintain the city’s small town feel.

To get a better idea of the other issues faced by the city’s citizens, she plans to attend meetings of Home Owners Associations.

Her priorities would be to improve economic development, communication with the public and create more governmental transparency.

“In a technology age, we need to communicate better with the public, maybe via cellphone text,” Turnage said.

Any contracts that may be needed to outsource city services or maintenance should be given to local companies first if possible, Turnage said.

She said her time on the Council gives her an edge in understanding city budgets and her passion and dedication will also be assets.

“I’m just a normal school teacher who thinks she can make a difference,” Turnage said.

She would like to see the city’s tax dollars spent on promoting the city and she would like to perform an overhaul of Friendship Park so more tournaments can be held there to increase tourism and the subsequent tax dollars. Turnage would also like to ensure all public safety department needs are met.

She said she is against a tax increase and feels that if the city were to annex any more land, it would need to be carefully planned to examine the financial aspect of providing city services with in the mandated five year time frame.