City requests continuance on Arlington oil well applicationPublished 12:29am Sunday, August 12, 2012
NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez has requested a continuance from the Mississippi State Oil and Gas Board for the Arlington oil well matter, which was scheduled to be heard by the board Wednesday.
Mayor Butch Brown said he believes there are still some unanswered questions about the circumstances surrounding the oil operation on historic Arlington property.
“I think the oil and gas board needs to understand all the issues with the agreement with (Mike) Biglane given by the former mayor,” Brown said.
The agreement in question, signed by Biglane and former mayor Jake Middleton on Dec. 29, 2011, gave Biglane’s company, RMB Exploration, authorization to continue the oil operation at its own risk before it received city approval with the understanding that the operation must get the necessary approvals from the planning and preservation commissions. The agreement also required developers to repair any damages to the site or neighboring properties.
The agreement was approved by the Natchez Board of Aldermen at its Jan. 10 meeting. Brown said he had recently been told by some aldermen that they never approved the agreement.
A copy of the Jan. 10 aldermen meeting minutes does not show the aldermen approving or even discussing the agreement.
However the video of the Jan. 10 meeting, filmed by Bruce TV, shows that former city attorney Everett Sanders brought up the agreement during his report.
The aldermen discussed concerns about the agreement with Sanders and former city planner Bob Nix, and Ward 4 Alderman Tony Fields made a motion to approve the agreement but upon further discussion withdrew his motion.
Ward 5 Alderman Mark Fortenbery asked Sanders the specifics of the agreement. Sanders said the agreement required RMB to make an application for city approval but also allowed them to go forward and recognized that a significant amount of money had been spent and actions were taken “rightfully or wrongfully” based on information Biglane had received.
Fortenbery made a motion to approve the agreement, which passed 3-2. Aldermen Rickey Gray and Dan Dillard voted against the motion. Alderman Bob Pollard was not present for the vote.
The meeting minutes show that Sanders had no report at the meeting and no vote on the agreement was recorded.