City of Natchez receives second casino payment totaling $1.6 million

Published 4:23 pm Friday, December 19, 2014

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez received more than $1.5 million from Magnolia Bluffs Casino Thursday — the casino’s two-year anniversary — marking a series of annual payments due to the city.

But how those funds will be spent has yet to be decided, Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said.

Magnolia Bluffs Casino President Kevin Preston said the casino provided a $1.6 million check to the city Thursday.

Email newsletter signup

City Clerk Donnie Holloway said Friday the city received checks for the casino’s second payment of $225,000 to a community development fund, $333,000 contribution toward a YMCA, recreation center or Civil Rights Museum and $1,050,000 lease payment.

The payments are provisions of the casino’s lease with the city, which was finalized in February 2012.

The $40 million, 45,000-square-foot casino opened December 2012 on city land at the foot of Roth Hill Road.

As outlined by the lease, the casino will contribute $225,000 annually to a community development fund.

The $333,000 is the second of three annual payments totaling $1 million. The casino will also pay 5-percent interest on the last two payments, bringing the total contribution to $1,050,000.

The $1 million rent is due annually to the city per the lease.

The City of Natchez received a lease payment in 2013 and used the money to kick-start a street improvement program that included repaving some roads and micro-sealing others.

Brown said the rent payment would go into a special city fund that the Board of Aldermen would then decide how to spend.

“It could be another street program, go to public properties or whatever but these are all good debates to be having,” Brown said. “This money comes at a very good time, and figuring out how to spend $1 million is a good problem to have.”

Brown said he believed the discussions of how to use the funding would begin at the next Board of Aldermen meeting, Jan. 13.

“We have to figure out a way to control the difficulty of everyone wanting to spend this money on different projects,” Brown said. “But we’re still delighted to have this money, and it’s really a Christmas present for the city.”