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Natchez Board of Alderman Update
from Staff Reports - NEWS
November 14, 2018 - ListenUpYall.com

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – The Board of Aldermen has approved Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell’s initiative to hold public forums to conceive ways to make city and county governments more efficient through consolidation and other measures to save money and provide better services.

Grennell plans to have sessions beginning in January with consultants discussing what efficiencies Natchez and Adams County governments can implement. Aldermen voted Tuesday to provide $4,000 for the expenses of bringing in the outside advisors. Total costs are estimated to be $12,000, which the mayor said could be paid with funds from private sources and the county Board of Supervisors.

Local government consolidation has been much discussed for many years in Natchez-Adams County. While some merging of operations has occurred – such as city-county tax collection and recreation – more is being pushed by proponents who say too much wasteful duplication exists in local governments.

Grennell has gotten Mississippi State University’s Stennis Institute of Government to provide information and advice. “Although increased consolidation of services should be possible, there is no single ‘silver bullet’ solution to achieving greater efficiency in local government,” the mayor said in a memo to aldermen.

Grennell said he plans to have four public forums beginning in January. “This will help us build consensus at the political level and in the public as we seek to improve the operation of our municipal government. The best course of action for our community will be based on factual information and consensus; not frustration, anger, or emotion,” he said.

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The Natchez Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday to seek bids for repairing busted water lines that have left in question whether the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center is usable.

Home of the Natchez Festival of Music, the 90-year-old former school has been plagued for years by various structural problems and repair needs. The city has been struggling to find funds to renovate the city-owned building, a state-designated historic landmark built in 1927 as Natchez High School. After the Natchez-Adams School District closed the school, the music festival moved into the Gothic Revival/Tudor-style building in 1999. The city, festival organization and state Department of Archives and History have spent funds to maintain and repair the building. However, about $20 million more in renovations is needed, according to one estimate.

The Board of Aldermen in the past has considered selling or leasing the Margaret Martin PAC to developers, but nothing has fruited.

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Natchez is getting a new Christmas tree to adorn the center of town. Mayor Darryl Grennell said the old giant artificial tree is in bad shape. Taco Bell is donating money for purchasing a new one, the mayor told the Board of Aldermen Tuesday.

A giant Christmas tree has been erected by the city for many generations at the downtown intersection of Main and Commerce streets.




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