Recreation on deck once again for aldermen meeting

Published 12:09am Tuesday, February 12, 2013

NATCHEZ — Recreation will once again be up for discussion as the Natchez aldermen are expected to say yea or nay to allocating a specific dollar amount to fund a recreation director’s salary at their meeting today.

Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission Chair Tate Hobdy will appear before the board of aldermen to ask that a specific amount be allocated. Hobdy asked the board at its last meeting for $15,000 annually plus benefits and a vehicle for the salary.

The county was asked to contribute $45,000 for the salary and turn over the county recreation budget to the director for management. The supervisors voted to provide a $15,000 prorated amount for the fiscal year and discuss full funding of the position during next year’s budgeting process.

Mayor Butch Brown said he is reluctant to say the city will provide the full $15,000 it was asked for since the county did not provide the full amount for which it was asked.

“The city doesn’t have anything budgeted either,” Brown said. “We’re not going to give $15,000, which is a full year’s appropriation. If the county is going to put up a third, we’re going to put up a third.”

Brown said he does not believe a partial commitment from the county is going to help efforts to hire a director.

“How in the world is (the recreation commission) going to hire someone with a big question mark behind what the county is going to commit next year,” he said.

The city, Brown said, stands behind its commitment to $15,000, if the county commits $45,000. He said he is also willing to provide staff to the director.

In addition to the salary specifics, Brown said he is unsure about the city committing to provide a vehicle for the director. Brown said he does not remember a vehicle being part of the deal, but he said that is a detail that will have to be worked out in discussion.

The vehicle in question is a 2006 Mercury Mountaineer that Interim Recreation Co-Director Salina Edwards previously drove. The vehicle, Brown said, has since been made a carpool travel vehicle that department heads use regularly.

In other news expected at the meeting:

•City Engineer David Gardner plans to ask the board to approve the city’s speed hump policy, which was renamed the Speed Calming Solutions Policy at the board’s last meeting.

Gardner will also be seeking authorization to officially close out the Daisy Street paving project, which is completed, and renewal of grass cutting contracts with Jeffery Ross Industrial Services.

•Mitzi Callon, chairperson of the Natchez chapter of Gaining Ground Sustainability, is expected to appear before the board to ask its support for an annual Earth Day celebration on the bluff.

•Southwest Planning and Development District Planner Allen Laird is scheduled to discuss the city’s plans to apply for federal funding from the Community Development Block Grant program.

A previous CDBG grant was used to partially resurface Daisy Street. Brown said he believes the city will apply for another grant to finish the street.

The board will meet today in the Natchez City Council Chambers, with the finance meeting beginning at 9 a.m. and the regular meeting at 11 a.m.

  • Anonymous

    As much as I would love to see a complex, now is not the time to jump up and spend 5 mil. However, the city has a million dollar budget with no director. This budget is being misused by several alderman with favortism and politics. It needs a director. The city and county need to consolidate. Vidalia was able to build a decent complex with their present 3.79 millage dedicated for recreation. Natchez only has 2 mils but a good director could do a long range plan of how to expand within his budget and get grants just as Vidalia did. Just as Mark Archer did with his committee in Vidalia. Right now the city can get half a director salary from county. This director could trim the fat and monitor the revenue from the golf course and tennis courts to justify his salary. Watch Dillard, remember he failed in the past few years of being rec head. The director retired during Dillard term as dept head. What did dillard do with that 60k salary and benefits? He contracted the grass cutting to save money. They didnt lay off any employees. How did this save? The budget didnt go down. Get a director. Every other department has one. Their vote will show who has alternative motives. See which ones dont want someone monitoring that budget. Typical natchez politics. Only way to start trimming fat is consolidate and put a independant board over all aspects of local government. Get the politics out. Then we may save tax revenue.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with most of your thoughts, however, an independent board is not feasible since those independents will kowtow to their audience, or constituents as appropriate much as is done with the BOS, BOA, and any other groups around here. Nobody has the best interest of the overall public in mind it seems, particularly the taxpaying public. Serving the non-taxpayers with caviar at the expense of the taxpayers is the norm.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Again, Natchez moneybags of my 65 years living in Natchez have always controlled the leaders of Adams county on the shoulders of the taxpayers to pay the bills and as one example the convention center that they will never get paid off!! This is a big hole of a waste of money that could have used the money more wisely especially when the first casinos that come into the state of Ms. said they would build a convention center in Natchez but the city leaders didn’t let it happen!!?? The BOS need to have on their minds is to get the two fire stations into affect ASAP to save lives & property is more important than hiring a director of rec. or a complex huh”??!! BOS don’t need Brown and the BOA having the county again riding the middle of a barrel over fire protection for the county ever again!! If the city and county are coming in to all this money to spend why can’t they for once to save it for a rainey day as of today?? Also, why not wait a few years to give these plants that Natchez Inc. get kicked off to going to get more revenues for such as a rec. complex and director would make a better logic than used in past years huh”??!!

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Consolidation opens the doors for the politicians to steal more monies thru out the world if you brush up on your economics its a open book of truths!! If these governments get more moneys they will spend it on themselves than save it or reduce taxes toward its taxpayers!!

  • Anonymous

    Contradictory – rainy day fund eats money potential for a tax reduction. Which do you prefer?

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    tax reduction of course!!

    In a message dated 2/12/2013 5:12:32 P.M. Central Standard Time, notifications@disqus.net writes:

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    oldsouthgent wrote, in response to khakirat:
    Contradictory – rainy day fund eats money potential for a tax reduction. Which do you prefer?

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  • natchezpast79

    Its not going to work. Let Vidalia do this for a few years and if their is a need or expansion, then lets revisit the subject

  • natchezpast79

    Tate Hobdy mean well and has good ideas, but right now is not a good time. Its okay to walk away and said we tried. Natchez is not ready yet. Let Natchez clear some debt and work on cash flowing the city budget without borrowing.