Supervisors puzzled by unknown grant application

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, May 6, 2014

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors was puzzled Monday at the news someone had apparently initiated the process of applying for an Emergency Watershed Project grant without going through the county.

County Engineer Jim Marlow said he was not aware of the application before someone with the Natural Resource Conservation Service contacted him about it Friday.

“Basically, they wanted to know before they submit this stuff up the line, was the county willing to put up the match for it?” Marlow said.

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The potential EWP in question is located on the Natchez Bluff between the Natchez-Adams County Port and the Mississippi River bridge.

The bluff face is sloughing off at the railroad tracks down the bluff in front of The Briars, Road Manager Robbie Dollar said, and the property owner, Leon Atkins, wanted to know if it could be declared an emergency.

But Supervisor Mike Lazarus said he wanted to know who actually contacted the NRCS about the project.

“For an EWP to get started, we have to initiate that,” he said. “The supervisors have to do that.”

Marlow said the EWP would cost an estimated $600,000, of which the county would have a substantial match.

The supervisors instructed Marlow to make sure the property in question is outside the Natchez city limits before they made any plans.

The property owner had told Marlow that part of the property was in the city limits and part was in the county, Marlow said.

In other news:

• Board Attorney Scott Slover said the board filed an objection to the proposed abandonment of the Midla Pipeline Friday.

The objection was filed jointly with the City of Natchez and Natchez Inc., Slover said, and includes information about the customers in the area who use the pipeline.

The pipeline’s parent company, American Midstream, has filed to abandon the pipeline — which is the only active natural gas pipeline into the area — on the grounds that the company believes the pipeline has outlived its useful life.

• The board voted to schedule a public hearing the possible imposition of a standardized building code outside the Natchez city limits.

Several people have approached board members about the possible codes, but the supervisors said they wanted to get public input before taking the codes under consideration.

“My gut says the majority of residents outside the city limits do not want codes,” President Darryl Grennell said.

Slover said under state law the county has three possible codes it can consider.

The board tentatively set the public hearing for June 2.

• Lazarus presented a petition from residents of Major Boulevard asking for the installation of speed bumps to deter youth on four-wheelers from speeding down the road.

Lazarus likewise asked if the county could consider some kind of penalty for those who ride all-terrain vehicles on county roads and property. The supervisor said the county has had a problem with youth riding four-wheelers in county parks even though signs are posted prohibiting it.

“We need to give the sheriff some teeth, where he can confiscate somebody’s four-wheeler for 30 days,” Lazarus said. “I don’t want them to take somebody’s four-wheelers forever, but I do want them to know that they can’t do this without consequences.”

• The board approved a resolution requested by Veteran’s Service Officer Vivian Toussaint to declare Adams County a Purple Heart County.

The goal of the declaration is simply to honor those who have served in the military and received a Purple Heart medal, Toussaint said.

The State of Mississippi has previously adopted a similar resolution, as have 75 other counties and cities, she said.

The board met in executive session to discuss a grant application for water treatment. The grant is related to the Elevance project, Slover said, and was discussed in executive session because it included details that were part of Elevance’s business strategy.

• The board honored Byrne Insurance as Business of the Month.