Aldermen want more money to fight erosion

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2001

The City of Natchez is set to receive more funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service after heavy rainfall earlier this month, but some aldermen want to know why lingering erosion problems in their wards are being overlooked.

City Engineer David Gardner said NRCS representatives toured 29 prospective sites last week and approved four. He said the NRCS looks for sites that meet their criteria, including evidence the erosion problem is recent and endangers life or property.

Ward 2 Alderman James &uot;Ricky&uot; Gray requested a written report from the NRCS detailing why the other 25 sites were rejected, some of which are located in his ward.

&uot;I don’t understand why these same projects get turned down year after year,&uot; Gray said.

Gardner agreed the process is frustrating at times, but it is the NRCS that determines whether a site is eligible, not the city.

&uot;It’s not that we’re picking the sites,&uot; he said. &uot;I’d like to do them all, but they have to meet their criteria.&uot;

In other business, the board accepted the recommendation of the Natchez Metro Planning Commission to deny a request to rezone property on West Stiers Lane to allow construction of a 40-unit apartment complex.

In finance committee meeting, several aldermen said they supported the idea of the complex, but they believe West Stiers Lane is not a proper location.

A quick vote on the matter in regular session prompted complaints from several audience members who said they could not hear the aldermen’s discussion.

But Natchez resident Robert McGhee said it was not only that he couldn’t hear the aldermen, he did not understand what action they were taking because they offered no explanation.

Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith warned McGhee that he was out of order and threatened to have him removed from council chambers, but McGhee said he would leave anyway.

Smith later apologized to the audience and the board for the outburst and said he would call McGhee to apologize.