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Adams County board struggles to fill port commission vacancy
from The AP
August 21, 2018 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – Problems about how the Natchez-Adams County Port is being run makes it difficult to keep a seat filled on the commission that oversees it, said county Supervisor David Carter.

During a meeting Monday with port commission President Wilbur Johnson, Carter said a seat has been vacated in recent months by two appointees who served briefly but resigned frustrated. They “found problems and concerns” at the port that were not being addressed, said Carter, who maintained the commissioners quit because they were “wasting their time” trying to persuade port officials to implement corrective actions.

The county-owned river port is governed by the independent commission appointed by the five county supervisors. The commission oversees port operations and sets the annual budget managed by port Director Anthony Hauer.

“We’re not perfect, but we try to do the best that we can,” Johnson said.

He noted port commissioners are free to make suggestions on how to improve operations. “Some of them are acceptable and some of them are not,” he said.

When asked what flaws were found at the port, Carter cited one: the large amount of overtime pay for employees.

Johnson came before the county board Monday to discuss when the Board of Supervisors will appoint someone to fill the vacant port commission seat. Carter said he has a few potential appointees in mind but cited no timetable on a final selection.

The port by the Mississippi River on River Terminal Road includes docking, loading, railroad and storage facilities for area industries. Budgeted to generate about $2.5 million in 2018, the port has made $2.2 million so far and is expected to exceed projections with two months left to go in the fiscal year, Hauer said Monday.

He noted the port’s income is based on the amount of river traffic generated by industries’ transportation needs. “We are at the mercy of the market,” Hauer said.

He did say there’s an industrial prospect he would not name that could generate more business for the port.

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