Alderman approve tax incentives

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 26, 1999

A new tax incentive program could help inspire more renovation and construction downtown.

The Natchez Board of Aldermen approved a historic district tax incentive ordinance Tuesday night that provides up to seven years of ad valorem tax abatement for the renovation or construction of revenue-producing, commercial property in the Natchez Under-the-Hill and On-Top-of-the-Hill historic districts.

&uot;This is to revitalize and encourage construction downtown,&uot; said city attorney Walter Brown.

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The tax abatement would freeze ad valorem taxes (except school taxes) up to seven years depending on the amount of money spent on the restoration. The minimum investment would be $20,000, with 25 percent spent on the facade of the building. In addition, four local banks have agreed to offer low interest loans for improvements to commercial property in the historic districts. Britton & Koontz, Concordia Bank & Trust, Deposit Guaranty and United Mississippi banks have agreed to participate.

In other business, the board:

— Heard from southern district transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown, who commended the city for its quick efforts to fill a sinkhole that fell through John R. Junkin Drive in front of the river bridge.

— Approved an engineering contract with Jordan, Kaiser and Sessions for work to rebuild Government Fleet Road. The contract will be paid by the county, but the city was involved in the bid process because the city received a grant for the project, said City Engineer David Gardner.

— Gave permission to the engineering department to advertise for bids for construction of the downtown community center. The old Service Motor Company building will be renovated for the center, and Waycaster & Associates architects are completing design plans. Gardner said the tentative schedule calls for the drawings to be finished Nov. 1, the construction contract for be finalized in late December, and the completion date to be in early April.

— Recognized Natchez High School senior Charles Harris as the PROUD&160;program. Harris received attention recently when he found $500 in cash and returned it to the elderly woman who had dropped it.

— Heard from Alderwoman Joyce Arceneux that a 15-year-old Natchez High School student has petitioned the city to ask Cable One to add the Warner Bros. network to its lineup.