Supervisors send latest EDA plan to aldermen

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 7, 2000

Adams County Supervisors hope their latest plan to revamp the joint city and county economic development authority will get approval of the Natchez Board of Aldermen today and will be law by the end of this month.

Supervisors agreed Monday to send a plan to reduce the size of the EDA’s executive board to the Natchez Board of Alderman, despite having not officially voted on it themselves.

With both boards unanimously supporting the bill, &uot;it should zip through the Legislature,&uot; said Marion Smith, board attorney for the supervisors.

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&uot;It&uot; is a plan that would reduce the size of the Natchez-Adams County Economic and Community Development Authority’s executive board and address the funding of the agency.

The proposal will restructure the EDA board from 15 members to five – three appointed by the supervisors and two appointed by the aldermen.

Under the proposal the county will pay for 60 percent of the EDA funding and the city will pay for 40 percent.

Supervisors said the proposals met their specifications except for not changing a portion of the authority’s name to &uot;Adams-County Natchez&uot; instead of &uot;Natchez-Adams County.&uot;

After a brief discussion, the members decided informally not to ask for the name change.

Acting on the issue quickly is essential, supervisors said, because the county hopes to get the issue passed during an Aug. 28 special session called by Gov. Ronnie Musgrove on Monday.

&uot;I don’t think we can tarry if we intend to get it done,&uot; said Supervisor Virginia Salmon. &uot;We need to do it this week and finalize it next Monday and get it on its way.&uot;

Since the EDA is a jointly-funded agency created through local and private legislation, any changes or modifications require legislative approval.

Discussion about the makeup of the EDA began in earnest after the agency’s last executive director left in January 1999.

The county board put off voting on the proposal until Supervisor Darryl Grennell had a chance to read it.

The supervisors will meet again Monday, Aug. 14 and plan to adopt two resolutions on the mater.

The first resolution will ask Musgrove to the include the bill in the state’s special session this month. The second will ask the Musgrove to approve the bill.

Natchez Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith said he has not looked at the proposal but that the Natchez Alderman might discuss the matter in today’s 11 a.m. meeting.&160;He did not know if it was officially on the agenda for today’s meeting.

&uot;If it looks alright with everybody, we could go ahead and accept it,&uot; Smith said. &uot;I don’t think any of the alderman have looked at it or seen it.&uot;

Smith said the city and county previously discussed some compromises on the EDA, but that specifics, such as the 60/40 financial split, have never been finalized.

Smith said regardless of whether or not the Natchez Board of Aldermen voted on the plan today, he wasn’t hopeful the issue would make it to the special session.

&uot;(Musgrove) gave me a one in five chance of getting it in,&uot; Smith said. &uot;(Musgrove) said if he did it for me, it would put him in a hard position for not accepting all the local and private legislation and it might end up bogging the session up with local and private.&uot;