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City considering $300K tax anticipation loan

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Board of Aldermen voted Monday to approve the advertisement for bids for a $300,000 loan to fund city operations until tax revenues start coming in.

The vote came at the request of City Clerk Donnie Holloway, who said the tax-anticipation note would be used to keep things running through December. The city will still have to receive bids from banks and accept a proposal before the loan is taken.

After the aldermen voted to approve the clerk’s request Tuesday, Alderman Dan Dillard said the best way to understand the tax-anticipation loan is to look at it as the city borrowing from itself —in this case, revenues that the city will receive in February or March.

“It is not a loan in the most conventional sense, but it is allowing us to move our revenues forward,” Dillard said.

The aldermen likewise said that such actions are in line with how most cities run their business.

Holloway said the interest rate the city will have to pay on the note would ultimately be determined by the bids the city receives.

Mayor Butch Brown said that he believed the city would not have to take out tax-anticipation loans at the beginning of a fiscal year if the fiscal year schedule was moved to coincide with the calendar year.

The city’s fiscal year began Oct. 1.

The aldermen also met with Norman Patterson of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the federal agency that oversees emergency watershed projects.

During the meeting, Patterson explained to the aldermen the process by which EWPs are selected and approved, and the difference between how a normal EWP and an exigency EWP are approved.

Of particular interest to the aldermen were two projects on Oakland Drive, which the aldermen said the city had not submitted.

Patterson said he was unclear how such projects could have been approved without the city first submitting it.

“We don’t haphazardly go out looking for jobs,” he said. “We go to a job from a request. Eventually the buck will stop somewhere, because at some point the city does have to sign and agree to a financial obligation to that (project).”

Dillard said he wanted to know who was submitting such projects on behalf of the city if it wasn’t the aldermen doing so.

If the city does not want to participate in the EWP — the projects require a 15- to 25-percent financial obligation — then they do not have to, Patterson said.

“It is as simple as saying, ‘We don’t know about it, we don’t have to agree to it, and we don’t want to sign it,’” he said.

In other news:

-Natchez resident Alexander Ellis asked the aldermen if there was anything the city could do to stop the spread of kudzu from an adjacent property onto his.

Mayor Butch Brown said the city would do anything it could to help Ellis, and Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis promised to look at the property.

“If it is something we have caused as a city, we can negotiate, translate or communicate some way to help you, but if it is coming from private property to private property, we are at a loss,” Brown said.

Alderman Tony Fields said kudzu is a major problem in his ward.

“The kudzu is taking over everything else,” he said.

Public Works Manager Justin Dollar said the city sprays all city property to control the spread of kudzu from city to private land.

-When Fields said that a construction site on Lumber Street was spreading water and mud into neighboring lots, City Engineer David Gardner said the company in charge of construction has changed its site plan to extend a retaining wall by 100 feet and has plans to rehabilitate the neighboring lot that had been affected.

“They assured me they would do everything they can to make that lady happy,” Gardner said.

-The aldermen adjudicated 17 nuisance lots to clear the way for the city to have them cleaned and the property owners billed.

-The aldermen voted to ratify the interlocal agreements that form Metro Narcotics and the city-county fire protection plan.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors has previously ratified the agreements, with today’s vote making the arrangements final.