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Supervisors add themselves to port commission

NATCHEZ — The Natchez-Adams County Port Commission doubled in size Tuesday when the county board of supervisors declared themselves voting members of the commission.

The motion, made by Supervisor Mike Lazarus, was to make the supervisors voting members of the port commission, but did not replace the current port commission members.

“This is no judgment on the port commission,” Lazarus said. “They are all good people who do good work, and it is truthfully one of our smoothest running boards.”

Instead, Lazarus said the move was to allow the supervisors to know more about the port’s operations in real time.

“This was just something we thought we needed to do,” he said. “We have access to information — we’re not having trouble with that in any way — but there is a lot of expansion going on out there and with this, we can have some input.”

Lazarus said he did not know if the supervisors would actually cast votes at the port commission meetings even though they granted themselves the right.

Excluding the supervisors, the port commission has five members, each one appointed by the county board and representing the supervisors’ district in which they reside.

The port commission meets monthly, and its meetings have always been open to the public, Port Director Anthony Hauer said.

The meetings are on the second Wednesday following the first meeting of the board of supervisors each month.

Operations at the port have been going well, Hauer said, and the port has been able to pre-pay lease payments through April.

In other news:

-The supervisors discussed the possible reappointment of Dr. Jennifer Russ to the Natchez Regional Medical Center board of trustees, but declined to act on the request Tuesday.

Russ’ term on the hospital board is set to expire this month, Supervisor Angela Hutchins said, and the doctor has requested reappointment.

Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said board members could also bring nominations at a future date.

-The board also took nominations for an open spot on the Natchez-Adams County School District’s board of trustees.

Grennell said board member Wayne Barnett notified him earlier this week he no longer wished to serve on the school board.

Hutchins submitted a nomination for long-time educator Linda McMurtry, while Lazarus suggested Alcorn State University’s Assistant Vice President for Educational and

Community Partnerships, Ruth Nichols.

-The board approved a request from the election commission to give notice of state and house redistricting.

The courts approved the redistricting last year, Election Commissioner Catherine Meng said, and the most obvious change is that a small portion of Adams County is no longer included in house district 96.

Rep. America Chuck Middleton represents District 96.