Natchez working on tree ordinance to apply for ‘Tree City’ designation

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 14, 2000

Natchez could be on its way to becoming a Tree City with the National Arbor Day Foundation. To qualify for the standing, which could open avenues for grant money, the city must have a tree ordinance in place.

Gretchen Kuechler, assistant city planner, presented the board and Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith with a draft of a proposed ordinance Tuesday. If approved by the aldermen, the ordinance will create a city arborist and urban forestry board to regulate and supervise the planting, maintenance and removal of trees, shrubs and plants on public property, including street right-of-ways.

Among the proposed regulations for public trees included in the ordinance are requirements on tree species, spacing between trees, distance from utilities and distance from a curb of sidewalk. A permit would also have to be obtained before new trees could be planted on city property. Trees on private property would not be included in the ordinance unless the arborist or board determine they pose a threat to health and safety.

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Kuechler asked the board and mayor to submit names from each ward for nominations to the seven-member board, with one at-large member.

Some aldermen had suggested Public Works Director Richard Burke serve as the at-large member.

Although aldermen will not vote on the ordinance until after the first of the year, Kuechler said she wanted the board to have ample time to read the proposed ordinance and offer any suggestions they might have.

In other business, the board:

Approved a request from City Engineer David Gardner to authorize right of entry agreements with the state Department of Transportation. Gardner said MDOT plans to restructure inadequate drainage pipes near the Mississippi River bridge and tie into the existing system at the Natchez Visitors Reception Center.

Approved a change order for $4,500 for a U.S. Army Corp of Engineers disposal site on Orleans Street.

Gardner said concrete collars installed on the site were damaged in a recent rainstorm and the money to repair them will come from the city’s bluff stabilization fund.

Set a public hearing for Dec. 19 to hear an application from Oscar Davis to operate a limousine service within the city.

City Attorney Walter Brown said limousines fall under the same licensing as taxis and must have a certificate of public convenience and necessity for insurance reasons.

Named Craig Godbold, Natchez Adams Metro Narcotics, city employee of the month for his performance in Saturday’s city-county first annual flag football game.

Godbold made four interceptions, two of which were run back for touchdowns.

Heard a proclamation from Civil Service Commission chairman George Robinson honoring commissioner Allen&160;Oliver.

Oliver recently retired from the commission because he moved outside the city limits.

Heard a proclamation from Smith and Ralph Jennings, Southwest Mississippi Retired Teachers Association, naming Sunday, Dec. 17 as Retired Teachers Day in Natchez.

Approved a request from Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff to apply for a grant from the Department of Public Safety.

The $53,000 grant would be used to purchase a &uot;live scan&uot; fingerprinting system which would cut down on time and error in fingerprinting at the local level, Huff said.

A 25 percent match required from the city for the grant will be paid for out of the tobacco fund, he said.

Heard the report of Ralph Tedder, recreation director, who asked the aldermen and mayor to support basketball leagues soon to begin at Martins Gym.

Tedder said the city-county flag football game raised $709 for Families First of Adams County.

Heard the report of Yvonne Robbins, Veterans Services director, who said the U.S. Department of Defense is still trying to locate the families of MIAs of the Korean War.

Robbins distributed a list of the names of those missing to the board and said more copies are available for anyone interested.

Heard the report of Paul Dawes, city building inspector, who said his office issued 32 building permits in November, for a net received by the city of $1,216.

Heard the report of Sabrena Bartley, Natchez Senior Multi-Purpose Center executive director, who said more than 300 people attended the center’s open house Dec. 5.

Heard the report of Huff who informed Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux that he is working on removal of a utility pole that stands in Marblestone Road.