EDA bill waiting for Barbour signature

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 24, 2010

NATCHEZ — A bill to overhaul the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority in favor of a new group called Natchez, Inc., is on its way to Gov. Haley Barbour’s desk.

Senate Bill 3174, authored Sens. Bob Dearing (D-Natchez) and Kelvin Butler (D-McComb), has been approved by the House. The Senate OK’d the bill last month.

“Now the bill has gone to governor, and it’s waiting for his signature to become law,” Dearing said Friday.

The bill calls for the dismantling of the EDA, and authorizes the City of Natchez and Adams County to contribute to a new non-profit entity, Natchez, Inc.

The bill states Adams County will contribute up to $165,000 annually, and the City of Natchez will contribute $100,000 annually.

In addition, all current assets of the EDA would be transferred to Natchez, Inc.

Dearing said depending on Barbour’s signature, Natchez, Inc., will become the community’s economic development engine on June 1.

A private sector group known as Natchez Now will also contribute to Natchez, Inc. According to the bill, the private sector will contribute up to $115,000 annually.

Natchez Now has received private financial commitments from local businesses of more than $457,500 — $152,500 each year for the next three years — from nearly 60 local businesses and citizens.

The group’s fundraising efforts are ongoing.