EDA talks continue

Published 12:31 am Wednesday, January 20, 2010

NATCHEZ — Adams County’s private sector showed just how serious it is about economic development Tuesday and asked county supervisors to ante up as well.

Businessman Benny Jeansonne presented the Adams County Board of Supervisors with a list of business owners who have committed to fund a renewed economic development agency to the tune of $123,000.

The private sector funding is a key component to an economic development plan by Boyette Strategic Advisors.

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“We’ve been busy for the last four or five weeks collecting checks and getting pledge forms signed,” Jeansonne said. “These are annual commitments that we’ve already gotten for three years.”

The Boyette plan called for a minimum private sector funding of $115,000 annually, with the City of Natchez providing $100,000 and Adams County giving the group $165,000.

But Jeansonne said businesses in the area are willing to go beyond what was outlined in Boyette’s plan.

“We’re not going to stop (collecting pledges). We’re going to keep trying to get as much money as we can (for the new plan),” Jeansonne said.

Jeansonne requested supervisors take action and send resolutions to state representatives and senators to show support for the new plan and request the current Economic Development Authority be dismantled.

The board agreed to the request unanimously, and board president Darryl Grennell said board attorney Bobby Cox would draw up the necessary documents to send to the state.

He said he expects to sign the papers sometime today.

Grennell said the fact that volunteers raised so much money so quickly shows the county is ready to see change.

“That they were able to raise the money is an indicator that we need to go ahead and implement it for Natchez-Adams County.

In other news:

4 The board voted to reappoint Gwen Ball to the Natchez Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees.

Ball, who has been serving the remaining months of former board member Chip Davis’ term since November 2009, will serve on the board for a full three-year term.

4 The board reviewed the only bid it received for the county’s community shelter project.

AEDD Plus of Laurel had expressed interest in building the 10,000 square-foot shelter within compliance of FEMA guidelines.

4 Adams County resident Willie Davis asked the board if it would help deal with an abandoned building at 2 Pine Hill Drive belonging to J.C. Washington.

“The building is an eyesore,” Davis said. “I was up here in December, and y’all sent (the owner of the building) a letter, and he came out there and put a ‘no trespassing’ sign out there, which has been torn down.

“But how can you board up a place that is already falling down?” Davis asked the board.

The board voted to contact the owner of the building and if something is not done about conditions of the building within three weeks, the building will be torn down by the road department and expenses will be charged to Washington’s tax roll.

While the property is private, Grennell said due to a state statute the county has the authority to tear down structures if they present a hazard to the community, as long as the owner as received prior notice.

4 The board voted to draw up two resolutions to send to state representatives requesting the state continue to fund mental health in Mississippi, and for the state to fully fund homestead exemption for counties across the state.