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St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority explores land

NATCHEZ — Even though the company it was created for no longer has plans to locate in Adams County, a newly revitalized St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority met this week to discuss the land and wastewater sites assigned to it.

Created in 2007 to accept liability for and maintenance of land and wastewater sites formerly associated with the International Paper facility, the authority’s five-member board had, in the last couple of years, trouble meeting due to low attendance. In 2011, only one person — former President Woody Allen, who has since resigned — attended half of the meetings. By December 2012, only one member actually remained on the board.

The authority was originally formed because Rentech did not want to buy the properties over which the authority has oversight when the alternative fuels company bought the International Paper property. Though Rentech no longer has plans to build a plant in the area, it still funds the authority with a $5,000 monthly payment.

The authority also controls a landfill that can be used to generate funds should it be opened.

Earlier this month, the Adams County Board of Supervisors appointed a fresh slate of directors to the authority. The new directors included Akash Dania, Scott Christian, Chandler Russ, Virginia Salmon and Ledine Washington.

When the board met for the first time Wednesday, it elected Russ as president, Christian as vice-president and Dania as secretary-treasurer.

The board heard general reports from its contractor who maintains the site, voted to have a pump replaced on one of the monitoring wells and voted to advertise for well monitoring services, Russ said.

“We explored really getting our hands around what we have and discussing what all is there and are trying to get a better understanding,” he said. “This meeting is really just an overview of what the St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority is, why was it created what are its assets, what are its opportunities.”

The authority has an opportunity in economic development because of the things it is tasked with, Russ said, and it’s possible that some of the land could be placed into a wetlands bank in the event that it is given access to wastewater.

“(The authority) is a major landholder adjacent to the major industrial area,” he said. “It has the potential to be a very good partner in the economic development of Natchez and Adams County.”

The authority will meet the first Tuesday of every month.

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