Would-be gaming funds divvied

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NATCHEZ — Adams County will receive 30 percent of the city’s royalties from the new proposed Roth Hill casino.

Adams County Attorney Bobby Cox reported to the Adams County Board of Supervisors at its meeting Monday that, according to House Bill 1884, the county is entitled to 30 percent of the 3.2 percent in total revenues the city will collect from the casino.

The percentage is the same the county currently receives from the city’s royalties from the Isle of Capri casino.

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Supervisor Henry Watts had asked, at the board’s Nov. 7 meeting, about the revenues. Watts said then the county could use gaming revenue from a new casino to offset the increasing cost of fire protection.

The Natchez Board of Aldermen recently asked the supervisors for an additional $50,000 to fund fire protection.

The county generally spends all of the gaming revenue it receives from the city on fire protection, which the county pays back to the city to fund.

Board President Darryl Grennell said he has no idea how the money from the new casino will be used.

“You have a new board coming in,” Grennell said after the meeting. “I think it’s too early to tell what that money will be used for.”

In other news from the meeting:

4The board met in executive session for approximately an hour and a half to discuss matters dealing with industrial development, personnel and potential litigation.

4While in executive session, the supervisors authorized Grennell to execute a promissory note for a zero-interest $2 million loan for improvements to the port-owned railway for the Elevance Renewable Sciences project.

The loan is one part of the board’s funding package for Elevance. The loan will come from the Mississippi Development Authority’s Freight Rail Service Revolving Loan Program.

The monthly payments for the loan will not start until after the improvements to the rail are complete.

Part of the agreement the economic development agency Natchez Inc. made with Elevance ensures full reimbursement for the $3 million the board has pledged to invest for county port investments necessary to make the project possible.

The company won’t be paying property taxes for the first 10 years, but will be paying a fee to local governments in lieu of those taxes.

The fee will be 33 percent of what the company’s ad valorem property tax assessment is. The 33 percent will be split between the county and the school district.

4Grennell told Stan Owens, director of civil defense, he was concerned about the lack of county residents that are signed up for the county’s Code Red weather alert system.

“We need to do more awareness (about the system) for the community,” Grennell said. “It could be a potentially life-saving procedure for people.”

Owens said he agreed with Grennell and was disappointed there were only 6,000 residents signed up for the service.

The Code Red system calls households and businesses to alert them to the fact that bad weather is approaching. Owens said people now have the option to opt out of the flash flood warning alert, and text message alerts are coming soon.

Owens and Grennell agreed to meet to discuss awareness initiatives for the system. Supervisor Mike Lazarus suggested getting schools involved in letting students and parents know about the service.

To sign up for the Code Red weather alert service, visit www.adamscountyms.gov or call 800-566-9780.

4The supervisors reappointed Roy Winkworth as vice chairman of the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Board of Trustees.

The board received a letter from Dr. Ronnie Nettles, president of Co-Lin, that stated Winkworth’s term was nearing its end and recommending he be reappointed.

4The board authorized Grennell to advertise for the positions of road manager and secretary/inventory clerk.

Clarence “Curley” Jones retired from the road manager job in October, and board secretary/inventory clerk Angela Hutchins will be a supervisor starting in January.