City: Time to clean up unkempt lots

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 17, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Those who&8217;ve let their grass grow up and their lots gather debris, take note: Aldermen said Tuesday they plan to vote Feb. 28 on clearing 40 unkempt lots throughout the city.

The board took under advisement four bids to cut grass and clear other debris from 40 unkempt lots.

Ronnie Ivey, director of operations for the Public Works Division, said he is also researching other options for cutting the lots besides accepting one of the bids.

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Ivey acknowledged that his department is behind in its work, particularly given the debris clearing, storm drain unclogging and the like it did during Hurricane Katrina.

Now, especially given recent storms, &8220;we&8217;re busy with sinkholes, bayous (eroding) and pick up limbs,&8221; Ivey said.

&8220;But you won&8217;t catch my men sitting down.&8221;

Some aldermen suggested the possibility of adding more inmate crews to help with cleanup or doing controlled burns of overgrown lots.

Aldermen voted to advertise for bids for a vacuum street sweeper to replace the city&8217;s 1993 model, which is now in the shop for brake repairs.

The new sweeper could be paid in part with reimbursement funds the city has received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for work done after Hurricane Katrina, Ivey said.

And Alderman and Mayor Pro Tem David Massey, chairman of the public works committee, asked other aldermen to submit to him in the next two weeks the sites where they want speed bumps placed.

Also in Tuesday&8217;s meeting, aldermen honored Sfc. 1st Class Ben Hewitt as part of the city&8217;s Presentations Representing Our Unique Diversity, or PROUD, program.

Hewitt, who also works for the Natchez Police Department, was assigned with his Army National Guard unit, the 114th Police Company, to relief efforts in Pascagoula during Hurricane Katrina.