County backs away on recreation funding

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NATCHEZ — If the city and school board fail to cough up two-thirds of the funding for recreation in 30 days, the county will back out of its $11,000 contribution.

District 2 Supervisor Henry Watts said at Monday’s board of supervisors’ meeting he recently reviewed the interlocal recreation contract signed last year by the Adams County Board of Supervisors, Natchez Board of Aldermen and Natchez-Adams School Board, and he feels the city and school board have not shown progress on honoring their role in the agreement.

“We’re the only ones who have stepped up,” Watts said.

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Watts made a motion to transfer the $11,000 the board set aside to give to the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission to an escrow account for 30 days. The motion directs the board give the money to the recreation commission after 30 days only if the school board and city have also contributed their portions of $33,000 for the recreation commission to hire a landscape architect.

Watts said lease agreement with the National Park Service for the bean field property near Natchez High School should include specifications about where a recreation complex can be constructed.

District 4 Supervisor Thomas “Boo” Campbell suggested waiting 30 days without taking the step to transfer it to an escrow account, since Adams County Chancery Clerk and Interim County Administrator Tommy O’Beirne said he thought the recreation commission has not yet actually received the money.

Watts said the interlocal contract should be looked at as if it was any other business contract.

“This is why people do not trust government. We clearly have trilateral agreement and we are the only ones in one year that have made any made movement,” Watts said.

Watts said he was concerned some of those involved in the agreement think the board of supervisors will end up funding the entire project.

Watts said he did not intend to criticize the school board or aldermen, but he wondered if there was a reason the city and school board have not yet paid their portion.

“Apparently the school board and city know something we don’t know,” Watts said.

Lazarus said the recreation commission has not yet asked the aldermen for its funding portion.

Campbell said he has talked with a member of the school board, who he did not name, and the board member led him to believe the school board anticipates it will be able to fund the $11,000.

Watts’ motion passed with a 3-2 vote. District 5 Supervisor S.E. “Spanky” Felter, District 1 Supervisor Mike Lazarus and District 2 Supervisor Henry Watts voted for the motion and President Darryl Grennell and District 3 Supervisor Thomas “Boo” Campbell voted against it.

In other business:

4 Grennell announced the supervisors were invited to attend a meeting Thursday at the Natchez Conversion Center to discuss the future of the rail line from Natchez to Brookhaven.

He said leaders from Franklin County as well as Natchez aldermen and representatives from Natchez, Inc. will be in attendance.

4Road Manager Clarence “Curley” Jones submitted a tentative list of the roads to be included in the four-year road project.