City approves bonds for convention hotel project

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; A hotel to complement the convention center is one step closer to reality.

After a public hearing at Tuesday&8217;s meeting with no public feedback, the mayor and board of aldermen approved the tax incentive financing and redevelopment plan for the coming hotel near the convention center.

The plan takes property and sales taxes from the building and uses them to issue bonds after it is completed, attorney Walter Brown said at the meeting. Taxes will still be paid to the schools, he said.

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&8220;It&8217;s an economic incentive to attract development,&8221; Brown said.

The county has already approved the plan, freeing the $10.4 million project from county taxes for now.

Brown said construction should be under way by November, taking about 10 to 12 months to complete. The project should provide 43 new construction jobs and 50 permanent hotel employee jobs, he said.

City Engineer David Gardner said the asbestos treatment of the buildings on the future hotel site is finished. After the required paperwork, the public works department could probably start demolition of the buildings next week, he said.

Convention Center Director Walter Tipton said the hotel would be an asset to the area.

&8220;We compete against areas that have meeting and hotel facilities in one complex,&8221; Tipton said. &8220;It will help attract meetings that are used to those facilities.&8221;

In other business:

4 The city will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget for the next fiscal year 5 p.m. Thursday.

4 Bids for public works, engineering and waterworks projects came in and were given to Gardner to evaluate. The board will review them at the next meeting.

4 The board will meet 5 p.m. Monday to receive bids on the North Natchez Surface Drainage project.

4 The board will complete interviews for the city planner position Thursday and should make a decision soon after, Alderman

Bob Pollard said.