Aldermen set date to fill school post

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2000

The Natchez Board of Aldermen committed itself Tuesday night to naming a Natchez-Adams School Board member by or before Sept. 29.

The position has been vacant since the death of Dr. David Steckler June 5. Steckler served on the school board since the mid-1990s and was reappointed in May.

Because of Steckler’s ill health, the board of aldermen had been considering appointments since January or February, former Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown said.

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Tuesday was the first time the mayor and aldermen have publicly discussed filling the vacancy since the new administration came into office July 1.

&uot;At the latest, we will solve this problem and make our appointment by the end of September,&uot; Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith said.

Ward 4 Alderman Theodore &uot;Bubber&uot; West brought up the vacancy in a finance committee meeting prior to the regular business meeting.

The aldermen agreed to begin collecting and reviewing applications of possible candidates, but did not discuss the matter in the regular meeting.

In other business, the board:

4Voted to update a riverfront design guidelines study done in the early 1990s by Boston-based Chadbourne and Associates.

In the new study, requested by Ward 3 Alderwoman Sue Stedman, the board of aldermen will look at building a convention hotel between Canal Street and Broadway, directly across from the convention center site.

&uot;We have to have (a hotel), whether it’s on that block or another,&uot; Stedman said in the finance meeting.

The aldermen also voted to allow City Attorney Walter Brown to begin composing requests for proposals for the convention hotel.

The RFPs will have to be approved by the aldermen before they can be distributed to contractors.

4Heard a request from Natchez tourism Director Walter Tipton for permission to advertise for security contracts for the Natchez Visitors Center.

The state Legislature approved a bill last session to allow the Mississippi Department of Transportation to provide security for the center.

Tipton said the MDOT security was scheduled to begin this month, but &uot;they ran out of money.&uot;

&uot;I still want to protect our visitors to the center after hours,&uot; Tipton said in the finance meeting. A renewed security contract will be paid for by the city.

4Tabled, after two weeks of consideration, a decision to reactivate the Downtown Parking Authority.

Stedman said she is unsure whether an authority is needed since a parking committee already exists as part of the Natchez Downtown Development Association.

&uot;Somebody needs to be studying (parking problems), but we don’t need two groups doing it,&uot; Stedman said in the finance meeting, adding the city already funds the existing parking committee.

Smith agreed two groups performing the same task would be unnecessary but said more people could bring new ideas.

&uot;It’s a two heads are better than one kind of thing,&uot; Smith said.

4Scheduled a hearing for a Natchez Zoning Board of Adjustment appeal for Aug. 8. The zoning board denied Ann Calcote’s request for a variance to build three residential structures on Roselawn Drive last week.

4Voted to readopt a previous resolution to allow the city to enter into long-term lease agreements with properties located along the bluff, including Roth Hill, Cock of the Walk, the pecan factory and the Broadway Street convention hotel site.

4Voted to extend a seven-year tax abatement to Mina Stowers and Jere Ferrill for a business at the corner of Main and Pearl streets.

4Approved a request by James Johnston, community development coordinator, to have a housing revolving loan contract spread on the minutes.

4Heard Tipton’s report on the economic impact of the recent Sadie V. Thompson Reunion. Tipton said the city received more than $700,000 as a result of the reunion.

Tipton also reported that articles on Natchez appeared in 11 national magazines in the last three months, for an estimated savings in advertising costs of more than $67,000.

4Heard the report of Municipal Judge John C. Tipton, who said the net amount received by the city for municipal court fines and fees totaled $47,000 in June.

Judge Tipton also asked the mayor and board to meet with himself, the two city prosecutors and public defender before the budget is finalized to discuss personnel.