Preziosi contracts with city

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 23, 2002

NATCHEZ &045;&045; David Preziosi is back in the City Planner’s Office &045;&045; sort of.

In its Tuesday night meeting, the Natchez Board of Aldermen voted to pay the ex-city planner $60 an hour to help compile information for the city’s planning-related boards.

Preziosi will do such consulting work for the city until he starts his new job as director of the Mississippi Heritage Trust Aug. 6. He expects to work five hours a week with the city until then, at the most, Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith said.

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Preziosi’s resignation from the city was effective July 15. Applications are being taken for the position through July 31.

Smith and Personnel Director Kay Patt will review the applications and narrow them down to a few for the Board of Aldermen’s consideration.

Major engineering projects also took up much of the board’s time Tuesday.

The board voted to authorize Smith to enter into an agreement with the state Department of Archives and History regarding the renovation of Memorial Hall for use as a federal courthouse.

The department is providing a $400,000 grant to help fund the project.

Meanwhile, City Attorney Walter Brown said $1.8 million in bonds &045;&045; $900,000 from the city and $900,000 from the county &045;&045; will be issued this morning to help fund the project.

Aldermen voted to allow City Engineer David Gardner to advertise for bids for improvements to Government Fleet Road.

That will include widening the road from 22 feet to 26 feet and straightening some severe curves to make it easier for trucks to get to and from the Natchez-Adams Port.

A storm drain system will also be installed, and a new road will be built from Government Fleet Road to the near Joiner Street extension. Gardner has said the project should take about one year to complete.

Aldermen also adopted a second amended resolution authorizing Smith to sign a deed to Mississippi Valley Gas for a part of Percy Street that will be closed as part of the project.

Valley Gas will then move its gas substation, which now sits near Government Fleet Road, to the closed part of Percy Street to make way for the project. The cost of the move will be paid by MDOT.

And Smith announced that he and other city officials are traveling to Jackson today to accept an award from the Governor’s Office.

Natchez is receiving the Excellence of Community Award for its use of Community Development Block Grant funds for the construction of the North Natchez Park Sprayground.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting:

4Cable One Area Manager Bobby McCool told aldermen that Cable One picks up &uot;local&uot; network affiliates &045;&045; channels 2, 3 5, 6, 12 and 13 &045;&045; with an antenna.

So since the stations don’t plan to increase their power, there is little Cable One can do to improve reception on those channels, he said.

But the stations will eventually switch to a digital signal, which should improve reception.

McCool also said that Cable One is considering offering Jackson’s Warner Brothers station in the future, and that station is making improvements to boost reception.

In addition to reception, the mayor and board have also gotten complaints about the lack of a basic, low-cost tier that would only include channels 2 through 13.

That would be a help to lower-income residents, they said. McCool said Cable One’s cost of installing cable for a basic-tier household is the same as for a customer with more channels.

Therefore, he said, it is not cost-efficient to add a basic tier now, but the Cable One will continue researching to see if there is a way to provide it.

McCool added that Cable One, since it acquired the cable system in June 1998, has made almost $6 million in improvements and doubled its number of employees.

4The board voted to advertise for bids for the creation of a gallery space for traveling exhibits for the Natchez Association for the Preservation of African-American Culture.

The project will be funded with a $20,100 Mississippi Arts Commission grant and $13,400 in city public property funds.