City Auditorium repairs over budget

Published 12:05am Thursday, April 11, 2013

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez has spent three times what it has budgeted for maintenance at the City Auditorium for the fiscal year, and Mayor Butch Brown said more will have to be spent before the year’s up.

Brown told the city’s board of aldermen Tuesday that the air-conditioning units have for several years been “woefully inadequate,” and that two of the larger units in the building have coils that are rusted out and cannot hold Freon, and only half of another of the building’s air-conditioning units works. Brown said he believes the city can cannibalize parts from some of the non-working units to keep the building cool in the short term.

“The compressor from one of the big units is still good, so we can put it in the other one, and that should make it through the summer, but at some point we will have to address air-conditioning,” he said.

The city already had to make an emergency purchase of a boiler for the building last month. Approximately $3,000 was budgeted for the auditorium’s upkeep for the year.

“We have already spent $9,000, and will likely spend more,” Brown said.

Alderman Dan Dillard, the city’s public properties chair, said Wednesday the city ultimately needs to adopt a plan to proactively maintain all of its buildings. The Natchez Community Center, he said, is in dire need of repairs to its bathrooms, roll-up doors and has rot inside its walls.

“There is some point where you have to realize that if you have got issues to deal with, you’ve got to address them,” Dlilard said.

“At home, if the toilet doesn’t work you just jiggle the handle; you can’t just do that with the public (and public properties).”

Having the city annually inspect its properties — ideally, before the budget for the next fiscal year is completed — will ultimately help in planning for budgeting purposes and will hopefully help reduce emergency expenses, Dillard said.

“That way you have some kind of idea about upcoming expenses. You can be proactive rather than reactive,” he said. “There are some things you can anticipate. You can say in the next three years you will have to replace this air-conditioner or in five years you will need to replace this roof.

“The reason we don’t have any money (for such repairs) is because we didn’t budget any money, and the reason we didn’t budget any is because we didn’t look and see (the needs).”



  • Anonymous

    This is a “joke” article, isn’t it? I mean, …really..isn’t it?? Surely, what was said and reported didn’t happen?! Our city couldn’t be THIS incompetent, could it?? Is there ANYTHING the city owns that is NOT falling apart?? C’mon…Kevin Cooper,…this is a humorous article, isn’t it?? A late April Fools ??

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Dan for bringing this out….. What has our Building Inspector been doing if he hasn’t been keeping up on our Buildings. He should know what our problems are before budgeting annually. Dan please don’t let our buildings fall down before our very eyes….
    Our buildings are one of Natchez’s greatest assets. Thanks again.

  • Anonymous

    What has our Building Inspector been doing if he hasn’t been keeping up on our Buildings.

  • khakirat

    The way I see it is that the city has all its eggs in the convention center trying to pay it which is a endless pit!! The city needs to sell more of its properties to get on the tax rolls as that of the Margrat Martin (Old High School) for they can’t afford to keep up this to satisfy a few people with taxpayers monies just isn’t the way to do this huh’??!! Yes, this is a reflection of the Building Inspector and others as the Mayor and the BOA not doing their jobs letting things get out of control that cost much more than keeping regular maintaince otherwise!!! Somebody has got to be checking or responsible for upkeep on these city owned properties if not they best better for its kicking them in the behind now!!! But this looks to be very incompetent and shouldn’t ever happen again!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    HAHAHAHA, It is hilarious isn’t it? I mean, $3,000 budgeted for the years upkeep of a building that large? Brand new buildings have larger upkeep budgets than that.. HAHAHA, if it wasn’t so funny, I’d cry.
    Next up is the Community center. How do roll up doors go bad? They roll up, they roll down, that’s all.
    Bathrooms? Ask the owners of the unused store and parking lot next door if you can lease enough space to put some porta potties. At least until the depot’s public facilities get ready.
    And get Fred some help down there in the Inspection dept.

  • Anonymous

    We must stop to realize that the City Building Inspector office oversees all private construction and related permitting within the city limits. I’m sure they spend the majority of their time on those revenue generating projects rather that the revenue losing city owned buildings.

  • Anonymous

    What is the rental income for the City Auditorium? How much is charged the garden clubs for putting on the pageant, tying up the building for over a month each year?