Supervisors decide on water debate

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NATCHEZ — When the clock in the board of supervisor’s meeting room fell off the wall just as the meeting started Monday, it seemed, to some, that time might stand still.

Attorney Walter Brown said he feared another three-hour argument like Friday’s, but this time, the board made quick order of an issue involving the St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the 2007 law that established the St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority. The amendment removed the authority’s regulatory powers over county and city water companies.

District 5 Supervisor S.E. “Spanky” Felter made a motion Friday adding lines to the law that the utility authority will not regulate, curtail or encroach upon Adams County Water Association granted in the congressional code title 7 U.S. Section 1926 (b).

Supervisor Thomas “Boo” Campbell offered an amendment to Felter’s motion, giving Natchez Water Works or any rural water business operating in Adams County the same rights.

On Friday, Natchez Water Works Attorney Brown had requested to have the weekend to read the congressional code, and the board voted 3-2 to allow him to do so.

The St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority was created as a means to own “hot spots,” wastewater and a landfill from the International Paper property and accept liability for areas Rentech did not wish to buy for its coal-to-liquid fuel processing plant.

The authority was inadvertently granted powers over utility companies, when the local group modified a bill from the gulf coast. On the coast, the bill served a purpose in the rebuilding process after Hurricane Katrina.

Ken Herring, director of Adams County Water Association, approached the board in December to amend the authority the utility board had. Supervisors unanimously passed this amendment at the time, and Brown later objected to the amendment on behalf of Natchez Water Works going so far as to have senators stop the amendment in the state legislature before it could become law.

After reading the congressional code over the weekend, Brown reported the new amendment to the original law would work for Natchez Water Works.

In other business:

Emergency Management Director Stan Owens was appointed grant administrator to apply for Public Safety Interoperability Grants, which are radios that allow for better communication with state and local agencies.

Road Manager Clarence “Curly” Jones reported it would cost a total of $76,120 to pave Deer Lake, Dunbarton and White Oak roads, which District 1 Supervisor Mike Lazarus and Felter had requested.

The board voted to give legal council the authority to contact the owners of a home on Parkway Drive, which burned down last year. The board had previously requested the rubble be cleared. Legal council will ask the owners to appear before the board.

District 2 Supervisor Henry Watts reported the county has not been reimbursed for the efforts it made in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav.

Lazarus reported on a training program through the unemployment agency in which the federal government would pay the salary of trainees for the first few months.

The board voted to request that the federal government make modifications to the WWI plaques so that the approximately 400 black participants from Natchez-Adams County will be included.

The board voted to allow David Carter to advertise for bids on the cutting, treating and spraying county levees so they do not return to previous conditions where trees had been allowed to grow in them for 20 years, causing structural damage.

The board voted to renew a tax exemption to Delta Bayou Fuel on its property in Adams County for providing jobs to residents.

Supervisors appointed David New Jr., Bubba Kaiser and David Carter as their representatives on the recreation commission.

The board accepted the county administrator’s recommendations for dental, vision and life insurance for county employees. They will continue to use the services of Citizens Security, Morgan White Group and Boston Mutual, respectively.