PICAYUNE, MS (WLOX) - A South Mississippi town is taking a proactive strategy to pulling itself out of a slumping economy. Picayune Mayor Edward Pinero said it was a difficult process, but the city managed to pass a budget without cutting services or raising taxes. He said the city isn't happy to just get by. Picayune is on the hunt for new businesses and the tax dollars they would bring.
Brett Boudreaux opened his mechanic shop a few years ago. He thought he'd always have steady income because people will always have to get their cars fixed. Now he's struggling to pay the bills and watching more people drive by than drive in.
"They're riding around with leaking exhaust," said Boudreaux. "I see them passing every day. Front end parts rattling, brakes squealing. It seems like they don't care or they don't have the money to try to care."
Picayune's mayor said his city is feeling the pinch of the slumping national economy. So far tough times haven't put more burden on taxpayers. To keep it that way, Picayune needs new investors.
"We're taking a different approach to recruiting manufacturing," said Mayor Edward Pinero. "We're not looking for the big smoke stack companies. We're trying to see what we can do to bring in the smaller companies that may only hire ten people."
Luring new companies to town takes time, and the Greater Picayune Chamber of Commerce said many of the city's current business are hurting now. The Chamber is reminding Pearl River County residents to keep their spending dollars at home.
"What I'd like to see happen in Pearl River County, to help businesses in Picayune and Poplarville and throughout Pearl River County, is for the residents of Pearl River County to shop in Pearl River County," Chamber Director April Parsons said. "If you live in Picayune, shop in Picayune. We have a majority of everything that Slidell has or Hattiesburg has to offer."
Picayune's mayor said the city has had some success in luring small manufacturers, but there are still many companies afraid to relocate in new areas.