Governor signs EDA bill

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 7, 2010

NATCHEZ — Gov. Haley Barbour has signed off on a bill to dissolve the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority, and make way for a new public-private marketing enterprise.

Natchez, Inc., is set to be established June 1, board chairman Sue Stedman said Thursday.

“We are all very excited the bill has been signed by the governor and was successful in its trip in the legislature,” Stedman said. “(The board) is meeting every week, and every board member has been at every meeting.”

Stedman said the board is now finalizing Natchez, Inc., bylaws, which will be reviewed and possibly adopted by the Natchez Board of Aldermen, the Adams County Board of Supervisors and private sector group Natchez Now.

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

Stedman said once bylaws are approved and adopted by the three entities, the board will move forward with documentation and other transitional measures such as hiring an executive director. A strategic planning session is tentatively set for later this month.

“Our meetings have been weekly and somewhat lengthy,” Stedman said. “We’ve met with a lot of different groups that impact the economic development environment in Adams County such as (the port authority), and we will continue to meet with those groups.”

Frequent communication between Natchez, Inc., and community groups, Stedman said, will allow Natchez, Inc., to provide up-to-date information to prospective businesses interested in locating to Adams County.

Boyette Strategic Advisors introduced the idea for Natchez, Inc., to community leaders in December. Boyette’s fee was funded by a $50,000 contribution from the Mississippi Development Authority, $12,500 in funding from the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority and $12,500 from private donations.