Recreation on agenda for early 2010

Published 12:15 am Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NATCHEZ — Supervisor Henry Watts has talked informally with representatives from the city and schools about recreation funding, but more talks are needed, he said Monday.

Watts said he will aim for a January meeting with Mayor Jake Middleton and School Board Chairman Norris Edney.

Watts told the Adams County Board of Supervisors he was of the opinion that the city would not be of much financial help on a recreation complex.

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“And if the school board puts up any (money), it might be on annual operating expenses,” Watts said.

Watts said Edney mentioned the possibility of paying operating expenses and told Watts there were legalities that may prevent school system from funding a facility not being developed on school property.

Watts recommended that before the county, city and school board select a nine-member committee, it would be a good idea to wait and see which of the three entities will help split the expense of building the proposed $5.4 million sports complex.

In other news:

Supervisors agreed to send letters to two of five landowners who responded negatively to Cellular South’s recent request to build a taller cell phone tower on a plot of land in the middle of the landowners’ acreages.

Cellular South representative Todd Jenkins asked supervisors for a setback variance that would give the company permission to tear down the existing 200-foot cell phone tower and build a 320-foot cell phone tower in its place.

Jenkins said the new tower would not only carry stronger service to those living around 733 U.S. 61 S., but also collapse within a radius of 160 feet of the tower instead of the current 200-foot area if dangerous weather — hurricanes or tornadoes — hit the tower.

However, one of the two landowners refused the plan while Jenkins said the second landowner only disagreed to the company’s plan because all of his neighbors were not agreeing to the terms.

The variance would allow the tower to be built even though it would go against the original guidelines set by the board.

“The tower is not going to be grandfathered in (by the old regulations.) That’s why we’re asking you for the setback variance,” Jenkins said.

Letters will be sent to both landowners explaining that supervisors have been asked to make an allowance for the construction of the tower, and that their feedback is welcome.

Executive Director of the Southwest Mississippi Planning and Development District Wirt Peterson approached supervisors asking if the board had plans to build a levee at the county’s Belwood site.

Peterson said after a discussion with Supervisor Mike Lazarus, he waned to speak with the board about the possibilities of working at the site.

Supervisor S.E. “Spanky” Felter objected to the idea saying the county should not act on any construction at the site until it is purchased by an interested party.

“We need to see whoever is going to move on it, and see what they need,” Felter said. “Do they want slack water? Do they want a levee around it? Or do they want anything at all?”

Supervisors agreed that the decision of what to do with the Belwood property should belong to the company purchasing the property.

The board will meet again on Jan. 4.