Recreation on deck once again for aldermen meeting

Published 12:09 am Tuesday, February 12, 2013

NATCHEZ — Recreation will once again be up for discussion as the Natchez aldermen are expected to say yea or nay to allocating a specific dollar amount to fund a recreation director’s salary at their meeting today.

Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission Chair Tate Hobdy will appear before the board of aldermen to ask that a specific amount be allocated. Hobdy asked the board at its last meeting for $15,000 annually plus benefits and a vehicle for the salary.

The county was asked to contribute $45,000 for the salary and turn over the county recreation budget to the director for management. The supervisors voted to provide a $15,000 prorated amount for the fiscal year and discuss full funding of the position during next year’s budgeting process.

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Mayor Butch Brown said he is reluctant to say the city will provide the full $15,000 it was asked for since the county did not provide the full amount for which it was asked.

“The city doesn’t have anything budgeted either,” Brown said. “We’re not going to give $15,000, which is a full year’s appropriation. If the county is going to put up a third, we’re going to put up a third.”

Brown said he does not believe a partial commitment from the county is going to help efforts to hire a director.

“How in the world is (the recreation commission) going to hire someone with a big question mark behind what the county is going to commit next year,” he said.

The city, Brown said, stands behind its commitment to $15,000, if the county commits $45,000. He said he is also willing to provide staff to the director.

In addition to the salary specifics, Brown said he is unsure about the city committing to provide a vehicle for the director. Brown said he does not remember a vehicle being part of the deal, but he said that is a detail that will have to be worked out in discussion.

The vehicle in question is a 2006 Mercury Mountaineer that Interim Recreation Co-Director Salina Edwards previously drove. The vehicle, Brown said, has since been made a carpool travel vehicle that department heads use regularly.

In other news expected at the meeting:

•City Engineer David Gardner plans to ask the board to approve the city’s speed hump policy, which was renamed the Speed Calming Solutions Policy at the board’s last meeting.

Gardner will also be seeking authorization to officially close out the Daisy Street paving project, which is completed, and renewal of grass cutting contracts with Jeffery Ross Industrial Services.

•Mitzi Callon, chairperson of the Natchez chapter of Gaining Ground Sustainability, is expected to appear before the board to ask its support for an annual Earth Day celebration on the bluff.

•Southwest Planning and Development District Planner Allen Laird is scheduled to discuss the city’s plans to apply for federal funding from the Community Development Block Grant program.

A previous CDBG grant was used to partially resurface Daisy Street. Brown said he believes the city will apply for another grant to finish the street.

The board will meet today in the Natchez City Council Chambers, with the finance meeting beginning at 9 a.m. and the regular meeting at 11 a.m.