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Adams County board discusses farmers market and consolidation
from Staff Reports - NEWS
September 19, 2017 - ListenUpYall.com

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – The Downtown Natchez Farmers Market is seeking more county funds to support its operations that will resume this fall after a successful startup earlier this summer.

Adams County supervisors on Monday heard a request for up to $5,000 from farmers market coordinator Eddie Burkes, but they made no decision. Burkes noted the weekly Saturday gathering of vendors and shoppers began with great success in June. It’s taking a hiatus in September but will resume in October for the fall.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors agreed in June to give $2,000 to the Natchez Farmers Market. Board members acknowledged the market has created a buzz and brought more people to downtown Natchez, but they expressed reservations Monday about providing more money. It was suggested that market organizers charge vendors a set-up fee, but Burkes said he’d prefer offering space free.

He said the market should get bigger and will continue as a seasonal event throughout the year. It’s being held each Saturday to sell farm produce, baked goods, arts and crafts on the block of Commerce Street between Main and State streets.

Supervisor David Carter did tell Burkes to meet with him later to discuss getting at least the money sought to help support the market for the fall season. Burkes said public money is also needed for the spring market that’s set to begin next May.

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Adams County supervisors declined earlier this month to call for a nonbinding referendum on whether the county should consolidate government services with the city of Natchez, but it stirred up more discussions at their Monday meeting.

Supervisor Ricky Gray noted the county and city have already combined some operations – such as recreation and emergency dispatching – but he questioned the feasibility of a wholesale merger of Adams County and Natchez under one governmental umbrella.

County Board of Supervisors President Mike Lazarus said most of the public feedback he’s received from residents living outside the city is in opposition to consolidating Natchez-Adams County governments into one.

Lazarus did try two weeks ago to bring up the consolidation issue for discussion at a joint meeting of the county board and Natchez Board of Aldermen with Mayor Darryl Grennell. However, Grennell balked -- saying it was not on the meeting agenda.

Natchez resident Paul Benoist asked the county board to put city-county consolidation questions on the November ballot to get a sense of voters’ support. County supervisors declined. Gray said he doesn’t want consolidation advocates to “force it down our throats.”

The city board, however, has commissioned a study be done on city-county consolidation. The review is being done by the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University.




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