City, county vow to keep politics out of EDA

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 19, 2000

Despite what the public may think Natchez and Adams County officials vowed Monday to keep politics out of economic development.

&uot;We all agreed politics would stay out of it 100 percent,&uot; Alderman David Massey said.

In a joint meeting, the Adams County Supervisors and the Natchez Board of Aldermen discussed working together and the future of the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority.

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&uot;We had a great discussion about the public perception of these two boards working together,&uot;&160;Massey said. &uot;There’s nothing that divides these two boards, and we need to give that perception to the public,&uot; Massey said.

In the past, state officials may have thought the two boards were not working together, said Alderwoman Sue Stedman. Whether that was true or not &uot;we’ve got to change that if we are going to have economic development in the 21st century,&uot; she said.

Monday’s closed executive session meeting focused on future board members for the EDA, officials said. Local officials are waiting for the state to approve a new configuration of the EDA board which would reduce its size from 15 members to five — three appointed by Adams County and two by the City of Natchez.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors appointed Leon Crawford, Jack Dallas and Charles Yarbrough and the Natchez Board of Aldermen appointed James West.

The alderman should select a second member today because their original pick, Fred Callon, declined the nomination, Massey said.

As a formality, each board will approve the other board’s appointments at its upcoming meetings.

Supervisor Darrell Grennell was also pleased with the outcome of Monday’s meeting.

&uot;I think the city and the county are all unanimous in that we’re moving forward in terms of economic development for Natchez-Adams County,&uot; Grennell said. &uot;We all have the same concern.&uot; Which, Grennell said, is to have an effective EDA board and EDA director.

The EDA has been in limbo since its former director resigned in January 1999. The new EDA board members will have the job of appointing a new director who despite previous practice will not need approval from the aldermen or the supervisors. Once the EDA board is in place, the aldermen and the supervisors plan to meet with the new members and have them develop a mission statement, officials said.