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Natchez Board of Aldermen delay decisions
from Staff Reports - NEWS
June 14, 2017 - ListenUpYall.com

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – Mayor Darryl Grennell said he and the Board of Aldermen are holding off providing more funds for the Natchez City Cemetery that’s running out of money to maintain it. The mayor said Tuesday more time is needed to evaluate the city’s own financial conditions.

The Natchez Cemetery Association last month said its operations have a $88,000 budget deficit. The mayor and aldermen discussed providing the cemetery about $32,000. That’s on top of the $40,000 the board allocated for the cemetery last September for the current fiscal year.

However, Grennell said Tuesday it remains uncertain if the city can afford to allocate the money.

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The Board of Aldermen closed the public out of discussions Tuesday about a developer’s proposal to lease the old Natchez General hospital and convert the city-owned building into apartments. Prior to the closed-door meeting, city attorney Bob Latham said the board would continue considering Magnolia Medical Foundation’s plans.

The board in April -- amid public protests against the Oak Street building becoming apartments -- delayed a decision on giving it to Magnolia. Aldermen opted to seek a state attorney general’s opinion on whether city officials properly requested proposals on how the building could be used. However, the attorney general’s office said state law doesn’t address the specifics of such requests for proposals, Latham said Tuesday.

The Jackson-based foundation has presented the board with plans to spend $3.4 million to restore the dilapidated building into apartments for senior citizens.

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The search for a new Natchez police chief has drawn 17 applicants for the post vacated in May when Danny White quit after an effort was made to fire him.

The Natchez Civil Service Commission will review the applicants and give the Board of Aldermen a short list of candidates from which one would be chosen as the next police chief.

Shawn King is serving as interim NPD chief. He said Tuesday he wants to be permanent and is one of the 17 applicants.

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The Board of Aldermen delayed approving an ordinance Tuesday for allowing public drinking on downtown sidewalks. The proposed “go cup” regulations would designate areas exempt from the general ban against drinking outside state-licensed bars and restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages.

A new Mississippi go cup law takes effect July 1. Local rules for how Natchez will implement this are being ironed out for the Board of Aldermen to adopt.

The area being considered for the so-called Natchez Leisure and Recreation District is bordered by Broadway, Jefferson, Martin Luther King and Main streets and extends along Canal Street to John R. Junkin Drive.

Mayor Darryl Grennell said he doesn’t want to rush into adopting the regulations, which are to restrict how freely people can carry their libations on the sidewalks of downtown Natchez. He also stressed the new law should not encourage people to carry their drinks out of bars and drive. “Go cup does not mean (buy a drink), get in your car and go,” he said.

 




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