County makes wish list

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2009

NATCHEZ — A new 250-bed jail, a housing complex for veterans, and two new fire stations could all be in the future of Adams County.

And the county won’t have to pay for any of it.

When the Adams County Board of Supervisors met on Monday, they heaped ideas on to an existing list of projects they’d like to see funded by President Obama’s pending stimulus bill.

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Monday’s additional requests were a sharp contrast from what the supervisors originally said they thought should be a concise request.

At a meeting in January, board President Henry Watts said the board should make its list of requests short and simple.

But that changed on Monday.

During Monday’s meeting, the supervisors were given a list of projects compiled by Wirt Peterson, director of the Southwest Planning and Development District, that Peterson had already submitted to state and federal agencies as projects that could be eligible for funding.

The board will be using the Development District to handle its request for funding.

Peterson said the original list was not an application and that there’s currently no process in place to formally apply for stimulus money.

That list contained 13 items for possible funding and totaled $38 million.

During the meeting, Watts said he had no idea how the list was generated.

“I knew nothing about this list and had no input on it,” he said.

Other supervisors were also concerned the list was either too lengthy, or did not include enough money for road funding.

The supervisors decided to call Peterson, who was not at the meeting, for clarity on the list.

Supervisor S.E. “Spanky” Felter said Peterson arrived later during the meeting — and the list began growing.

Peterson didn’t arrive at Monday’s meeting until after the board went into executive session for another issue.

Despite original concerns that the list was too long to warrant funding, it grew by at least half a dozen items and $28 million.

Felter said all of the projects that were added were projects the supervisors have wanted to fund for some time.

Felter said during the meeting with Peterson the supervisors added requests for $15 million for a new jail, $4 million to purchase land for industrial development and $4 million for road improvements.

None of the original 13 items on the list were removed, Felter said.

On Monday evening, Watts declined comment, saying he felt his words would be contorted and was too busy to discuss the matter.

He deferred all questions to his fellow supervisors.