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Natchez-Adams County leaders want more accountability for recreation spending
from Staff Reports - NEWS
January 23, 2019 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. –City and county officials say they’re uncertain how Natchez-Adams County’s recreation program they fund has been doing in recent months and want to meet with YMCA and recreation officials who get the money to run it.

“We’re operating in the dark because we don’t know what their budget is,” said Natchez Alderman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis

“I don’t mind paying them if we’re getting something for it,” Adams County Supervisor Mike Lazarus said. “We’re spending money. Let’s see what we’re spending the money on.”

The county Board of Supervisors and the city Board of Aldermen jointly fund the recreation program and contracted the YMCA in 2015 to oversee it under the auspices of the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission.

However, the YMCA staffer who managed the Natchez-Adams County programs moved away last year. This has resulted in no one being sufficiently accountable to the city and county boards about what’s going on with the various recreation offerings and plans.

“It’s like recreation is wandering with no leader,” Lazarus said.

Alice Agner left Natchez in October to take a job at the suburban Jackson-based Metropolitan YMCAs of Mississippi.

City and county officials pointed to the need to meet with YMCA officials and the Recreation Commission to discuss future funding and operations for community parks, ballfields and the new pool.

“We need to find out where we’re going with that,” Lazarus said.

In consolidating their recreation efforts in 2015, the city and county each pledged to put up $100,000 annually for recreation construction. For program operations, the county annually allocates $334,000 to combine with $550,000 from the city for the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission to appropriate. Much of that is paid to the YMCA.

For the new community pool that opened last June, the two boards joined in coming up with the money for the aquatic center’s construction. The pool costs about $838,000 to build. An adjacent structure for concessions and restrooms cost about $500,000. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
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