Area economic development on agenda for local officials today

Published 1:24 am Monday, August 1, 2016

NATCHEZ — Adams County’s governments will meet with representatives from Natchez Inc. today to discuss where economic development projects stand.

Representatives from the Natchez-Adams County Airport—Hardy-Anders Field and the Natchez-Adams County Port will also be present.

The meeting will be 4:30 p.m. at the Natchez Grand Hotel.

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Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said he feels the meeting is necessary after a conversation several weeks ago with Board of Supervisors President Mike Lazarus about activity at the port and about Natchez rail service.

“We have three new aldermen, along with myself, who need to be brought up to speed on what is the status for prospects in Natchez-Adams County,” he said. “That is really the whole mission of this, to get an update as it relates to economic development.”

Lazarus said the supervisors sometimes feel as if they are being left out of the details, and they’ve only received one update from Natchez Inc. during a board meeting in the last six months.

“It may come down to there is not anything going on, but we would like to know that,” he said.

“The county and the city have a lot invested in Natchez Inc. — a lot — and if (the director) can meet with Natchez NOW quarterly, he can meet with us. We put a chunk of money in this.”

Lazarus said he’s also open to the idea of having someone from the county and city government boards attend Natchez Inc. meetings, or to have their Natchez Inc. appointees report back to them.

Under the legislation that created Natchez Inc., three bodies — the city government, the county government and the private sector group Natchez NOW — contribute to its funding.

Natchez NOW is composed of local business leaders.

The legislation — which is good through 2021 — authorizes the city and county to fund Natchez Inc., capping the city’s annual contribution at $100,000 and the county’s at $165,000.

Natchez NOW contributes approximately $140,000 a year including special requests. Its annual obligation is $125,000.

All three groups appoint members to the Natchez Inc. board.

Natchez Inc. was first formed in 2010.