Aldermen to hold public hearing on cable service

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 12, 2001

Local residents will soon have a chance to sound off about their cable service. On Tuesday, the Natchez Board of Aldermen set a public hearing on cable for 5:30 p.m on May 1 at council chambers on Pearl Street.

City Attorney Walter Brown said he recently received a &uot;626-A notice&uot; from local cable provider Cable ONE.

Brown said the notice sets into motion federal communication law requiring the city hold a public hearing about cable service.

Cable ONE’s franchise agreement with the city expires in July.

Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux, who is also public utilities chairperson, was not present at the meeting.

Also at the meeting, the board:

Heard from City Clerk Donnie Holloway, who said the city is about $106,000 over its $100,000 budget for hospitalization insurance costs.

Holloway said many municipalities currently are facing similar problems as coverage becomes more difficult to find, and he plans to meet with three local companies to consider switching providers.

Heard from Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff, who gave the report of absent City Tourism Director Walter Tipton.

Huff said the CEO of Nissan and the CEO of the Mississippi division of Nissan visited Natchez last week. The company had asked the visit be kept secret from the public, he said.

Another group requesting anonymity was a special charter of the American Queen, whose 350 passengers toured historic houses and enjoyed a private dinner on the grounds of Dunleith.

Turning to police business, Huff said six Natchez officers assisted Biloxi law enforcement with last week’s Black Springbreak.

4Approved execution of final documents for four projects recently approved by the Natural Resource Conservation Service, including $20,000 for Jackson Street at Shady Side Street, $12,000 for Hampton Court, $15,000 for Ivy Lane at Birdwood Drive and $70,000 for Oakland Drive.

City Engineer David Gardner presented the aldermen with a memo detailing why several other applications for NRCS funds were denied.

Heard from Brown, who said the Legislature passed three local and private bills involving the city, including authorization to enter into long-term leases with the National Park Service for the beanfield property, for long-term leases on city-owned riverfront property and to restructure the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority.

Brown said the EDA legislation is time-sensitive, and the board will need to appoint formally its three members from the city at the next meeting, scheduled for April 24.

Approved sale of city-owned property off Martin Luther King Jr. Street known as Club de Lis to Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church for $6,000 plus $4,500 financed over 15 months.

Brown said the property was donated to the city several years ago and is located adjacent to the church.

Approved renewal of a 12-month, $40,000 contract to provide Natchez Housing Authority with two Natchez police officers as part of a state grant.

Appointed Carolyn Doughty to a six-year term on the Natchez Metro Planning Commission. Doughty will replace Woody Allen, whom aldermen recently named to the EDA board.

Heard the report of Ward 4 Alderman Theodore &uot;Bubber&uot; West, who said the police committee and Chief Huff have developed a plan to prevent officers from gaining job experience in Natchez then transferring to other departments for higher salaries.

West said he will send the plan to Huff for &uot;fine tuning&uot; then present it to the aldermen at the next meeting.

Heard from Ward 2 Alderman James &uot;Ricky&uot; Gray, who said he had received complaints from people who wanted to buy houses being moved as part of the Natchez Trace Parkway extension, but were told they were all spoken for.

Gray asked that the next time a project like the Trace comes through Natchez, the city make sure a fair system for acquiring the houses be in place beforehand.

Voted to close the McGehee-Burkley fund and transfer the balance – more than $53,000 – to the city’s capital improvement fund.

Brown said the McGhee-Burkley fund was created about 15 years ago when the city received a grant to offer low-interest loans for construction of the McGehee-Burkley lumber mill.

Now that the loan has been paid and the account is no longer growing, the money can be transferred to capital improvements, what it was used for anyway.

Voted to apply for grant money from the Mississippi Department of Transportation to replace three buses for Natchez Public Transit.

Sabrena Bartley, Natchez Senior Citizen Multi-Purpose Center executive director, said the grant requires a 20 percent match, which would be paid for out of the senior center’s budget.

Named an alley off Madison Street leading up to the city water tower as Mayer Lane for Emergency 911 purposes.