Bill would provide sewer to potential prison

Published 1:27 pm Friday, March 30, 2007

A bill allowing Natchez Water Works to provide sewer to a potential industry in the county has one last stop to make — the governor’s desk.

The bill, which passed the state House of Representatives earlier this month, sailed through the Senate recently, Sen. Bob Dearing (D-Natchez) said Thursday.

It authorizes the waterworks to operate its sewer system to a certain location outside the city limits.

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The motivation for the bill was to supply sewer services, which the county water association does not provide, to a potential private prison looking to locate on U.S. 84.

The Senate passed the House’s edition of the bill with one change — they added that the county board of supervisors, as well as the city board of aldermen, must approve the move.

“There was a lot of talk about this being a (start) towards annexation,” Dearing said. “So it was felt if we put any project in, if it has to be approved by the city and county, that would take all the rumors away.

“When the city approached us on this, we never ever discussed it as annexation. Putting that language in as we did should relieve that concern.”

Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said Thursday he asked for the amendment to the bill.

“Anytime there’s an economic development going outside the city limits, I think the county needs to be involved,” Grennell said. “Instead of just the city signing off on it, I think the county needs to be involved.”

Since the city government has no jurisdiction outside city limits, “it needs to also get the stamp of approval from the board,” he said.

Two private correctional companies have expressed interest in locating a facility in Adams County. Corrections Corporation of America is eyeing the U.S. 84 site, as well as sites in Pike and Walthall counties. The GEO Group is looking at a site at the county airport.