City loses public trust when doors close

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 11, 2010

I have just returned from the regularly scheduled board of aldermen meeting which, after 2 hours and 45 minutes, the discussion of the Roth Hill project was moved to an executive session.

I can’t understand why the board as a whole doesn’t want to bring out into the light of day Mr. Dillard’s questions regarding the contract and arraignments between The Lane Company, Natchez Enterprises and the City of Natchez.

The Lane Company today said they wanted to discuss their business plan and investors with the city, but felt they did not want to speak in an open meeting. I thought they were invited here to answer the many questions brought up concerning the original contract and changes in the current lease that are all part of the public record.

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I also was under the impression that Mr. Doody (the signer of the original contracts) or someone representing the Lane Company, who could speak to concerns about the transition of Mr. Doody’s exit, would also be present.

As citizens of Natchez have a great deal at stake in this development, an open public meeting should occur to inform and answer questions of the board of aldermen concerning Roth Hill. There have been so many changes since this contract was awarded four years ago that I don’t think the people of Natchez know what is going happen and when to Roth Hill.

Today I heard continually that the city didn’t have the money for this or that project and that we were a poor city full of poverty.

All of that is true, but if the Roth Hill project as originally presented was on schedule we, as a city would have $1,000,000 toward drainage, streets and other needs.

The mayor and all aldermen should realize they are elected officials and here to work for us the people of Natchez.

The cloud of secrecy (private meeting and no public hearings) continues to erode the public trust for this current debacle at Roth Hill.

Paris B. Winn

Natchez resident