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Natchez aldermen approve new arrangement with tourism commission
from Staff Reports - NEWS
August 23, 2017 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – The Board of Aldermen approved a new arrangement Tuesday with the Natchez Convention Promotion Commission that ensures it oversees the city’s tourism program and determines who directs it.
The new management agreement has aldermen giving up their previous practice of appointing the city’s tourism director, but they do retain the authority to determine who manages the Natchez Convention Center.
Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell has said he and aldermen should not “micromanage” the city’s tourism program. They, instead, must give the commission the authority to oversee the marketing of Natchez for tourists and conventions.
“We need to put our trust in (the Natchez Convention Promotion Commission) because we know they’re going to do the right thing for this city,” Grennell said last month during a board meeting with the commission.
Natchez Convention Promotion Commission members – six people appointed by the aldermen – have insisted the NCPC is an autonomous municipal agency empowered to hire and fire tourism staffers and to operate the convention center. State law does give the commission control over the expenditure of Natchez tourism tax revenues to market the city.
While aldermen agreed to relinquish appointing the city’s tourism director, they will retain their authority to determine who manages the city-owned Natchez Convention Center. The Board of Aldermen 10 years ago contracted Natchez Grand Hotel owner Warren Reuther’s New Orleans-based firm to run the convention center. The company’s management contract is up for renewal by the Board of Aldermen in October.
Amid complaints about the Reuther company’s financial accounting of the convention center, the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday did vote to contract an accounting firm to audit the convention center’s books. CPA Wallace Collins’ firm did a forensic audit of the city’s books earlier this year and continues to help City Hall with its financial management. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
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