More on Picayune

Live in a well-established neighborhood within the city limits, reside beside a quiet lake, or enjoy country living on that acreage that you have always wanted. No matter what your choice, affordable housing within Picayune and the surrounding area is in abundance. According to the National Association of Realtors, the price for single-family homes for metropolitan areas in Mississippi is only 65 percent of the United States average.

The Picayune and Pearl River County property taxes are computed using the assessed values. If the property is the primary residence a " Homestead Exemption" is applied after a year, and for example, the total county and Picayune tax on a $100,000 residence is about $1,200 per year. If either spouse or the owner is over 65 or if either spouse is disabled a " Homestead-special Exemption" applies and the total tax is further reduced to about $549 per year.

The cost of residential insurance varies according to location and proximity to fire protection assets. For example, insurance for a $100,000 brick home with a $250 deductible policy will cost about $ 490 inside the city limits while insurance on the same home outside the city may cost about $1,100 per year. An average estimate range of $500 to $700 per year would be a reasonable estimate for the cost of insurance.

We are a peaceful community where both personal safety and property are equally respected and protected. Picayune enjoys a very low crime rate. The latest report on Crime in the United States prepared by the Department of Justice reports that Picayune had only six robberies, and a composite crime index of 599, which is one-tenth of the national index. The Picayune Police force which maintains the peace is composed of 34 individuals, 22 of which are uniformed officers. They are well trained and use the most recent equipment and procedures. Areas outside of the city limits are equally as well protected by the Pearl River County Sheriff's Department. In addition, The City of Picayune is protected by a Fire Department composed of three engine companies. It is one of the best equipped in south Mississippi. Outlying localities have volunteer fire departments that are augmented by the Picayune Fire Department on an as required and as available basis.

Picayune has two exits off of Interstate I-59. U.S. highway 11 and State highway 43 run through the center of town. Thirty miles south, I- 59 intersects major east-west highways I-10 and I-12. There is daily AMTRAK and Greyhound Bus service in Picayune. Locally there is a 5,000 foot airstrip accessible 24 hours a day. This new airport is for general and corporate aviation. Within an hours drive to the east is the Gulfport-Biloxi Regional Airport with connections to all major cities, and an hours drive to the south is the New Orleans International Airport.

Picayune has a Council-Manager form of city government. The mayor and five council members are elected for four-year terms. This type of city government offers the opportunity for citizen participation. This includes joining citizen groups, serving on advisory boards and commissions, attending council meetings, participating in hearings, or serving on the council.

The Crosby Memorial Hospital located in Picayune, is a vital part of the community. This modern 95-bed hospital provides 24-hour physician-staffed emergency care. It features a full range of services including CT scanning, laser surgery, cataract and ENT surgery, adult and pediatric neurology clinic, a dedicated mammography unit, cardiovascular testing, physical therapy, imaging, MRI, and ultrasound. The hospital also features an intensive care unit with capacity for 12 additional telemetry beds outside the unit. Levels of care are in-patient, out-patient, observation beds, swing beds, and same-day surgery.

Major regional medical centers are nearby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Slidell, Louisiana; and New Orleans, Louisiana. There is also a Veterans Administration hospital in Gulfport, MS and a Regional Military Hospital at Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MS. Both a little more than an hour away.

For medical emergencies Picayune is serviced by a 24-hour Ambulance Service.

The Picayune Crosby Margaret Reed Memorial public Library contains over 100,000 volumes. It has excellent reference and genealogical sections. The library is a focal point for cultural attractions in Picayune. The library support group, "Friends of the Library", arranges for guest speakers or special functions such as art exhibitions, book reviews, classic films, trips, and recitals that add to the cultural environment of the community.

Both community college and university facilities are within easy daily commuting distance. The Pearl River Community College is located only 30 miles north of Picayune and provides a number of courses, both credit and non-credit, that offer classes on a wide variety of subjects ranging from foreign language to computer classes. They also conduct evening extension classes in Picayune on selected subjects. In addition, the main campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey College, and the University of New Orleans are only an hours drive from Picayune. They offer a broad range of continuing education classes in addition to their formal academic curriculum. Only 10 minutes away at the Stennis Space Center several universities offer courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. These universities include Mississippi State University, The University of Southern Mississippi, the University of New Orleans, and Pearl River Community College.

Other recreational opportunities in the Picayune area include camping at nearby parks, riding stables, boat ramps, and water skiing on the Pearl River and some of the man-made lakes. Friendship Park in Picayune has facilities for craft shows, little theater, gymnastics, horse and livestock shows, circuses, baseball, softball, soccer, and tennis. Picayune is home to art leagues, garden clubs, and a chapter of the Gulf Coast Bridge Association. The Crosby Arboretum in Picayune is an interpretive nature center. Located on its acreage is the award winning Pinecote Pavilion beside the Piney Woods Lake. It is a serene and picturesque setting for programs, social gatherings, exhibits and musical performances. Active chapters of the AARP and NARFP are located in Picayune, as well as chapters of social and service organizations such as Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, Shriners, DAR, American Legion, Amvets, VFW, and more.

Leisure living in Picayune includes the year- round schedule of recreational and cultural activities. These range from out-doors activities of hunting, fishing, golf, and tennis, to cultural activities such as the " Picayune On Stage" little theater group that produces five plays each year. Within an hours drive ,in New Orleans, one can find the Louisiana Symphony Orchestra, opera, ballet, theater, jazz, professional football, the Audubon Zoo, the Aquarium of the Americas, as well as a variety of annual events such as Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festivals. Also, as an additional recreational diversion there are numerous casinos operating along the Gulf Coast.

Fishermen will discover that the Picayune area is perfectly situated no matter what your pleasure, or your level of expertise. Fishing is available in numerous local streams and rivers, as well as public and private lakes, and local ponds. These fishing spots are only minutes away or nearly at your doorstep. They are loaded with bass, bream, white perch and catfish. Saltwater fishing with your personal boat, or deep sea charter fishing is only 40 miles south along the Mississippi Gulf coastal waters. For the hunter, South Mississippi is a haven for white tail deer, turkey, squirrel, dove, and other small game. Hunting in the Old River Game Management Area, and the DeSoto National Forest is open to the public. Additionally there are many hunting clubs that hold leases for hunting rights to private lands. These clubs are by membership only but their costs are very reasonable. Hunting and fishing are sports that everyone can enjoy from seniors to grandchildren. Mississippi residents 65 years old are exempt from both state hunting and fishing license fees.

Picayune has an excellent 18 hole golf course at the Millbrook Golf and Country Club. There are three other Golf Clubs within the county, and several more within a short drive along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in nearby Hattiesburg. The Millbrook Golf and Country Club offers membership for approximately $750. Weekday greens fees for non-members are about $33 for 18 holes including a cart. The club also has a driving range, pro shop, snack bar, and an outdoor Olympic-size swimming pool.


Income Taxes

Beginning January 1, 1994 Mississippi residents who receive benefits from federal, state, and private retirement systems including Keogh Plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are exempt from Mississippi state income taxes.

Income from other sources is taxed on the following basis:

* 1st $5,000 @ 3%
* 2nd $5,000 @ 4%
* All above $10,000 @ 5%

Estate Taxes

There is no estate tax on estates less than $ 650,000. The maximum tax Mississippi can collect is the State Death Tax Credit allowed on the Federal tax return. It is based on the chart in Federal Form 706, Estate Tax Return. There is no inheritance tax on estates left to the surviving spouse.

Sales Taxes

* 7% on retail sales
* 5% on new and used automobiles
* 2% tourism tax in Picayune