Aldermen approve recreation management position

Published 12:05 am Saturday, September 2, 2017


The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Natchez aldermen approved Friday a request by mayor Darryl Grennell to budget for a new recreation department head for the upcoming fiscal year.

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Grennell said he had spoken with the board members about the need to hire a recreation director to head three city departments: parks, tennis and golf.

The new department head will make between $40,000 and $45,000 annually, per Grennell’s request.

The board approved the request by a 4-0 vote, with Ward 3 Alderwoman Sarah Smith and Ward 6 Alderman Dan Dillard not present.

The city also has an interlocal agreement — a collaborative agreement between two public entities — with the Metropolitan YMCAs of Mississippi to handle recreation.

Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis clarified that this new department head would have jurisdiction over these three departments, while the YMCA would handle most other recreational activities.

Grennell confirmed that was the intent.

“The swimming pool will be Y(MCA); the academic programs that they’ve instituted at the Martin Gym will be Y(MCA), and of course other programs that develop, such as the baseball program that (the YMCA) is working on, the soccer — so there is going to be plenty for the Y(MCA) to do,” Grennell said.

Natchez YMCA Director Alice Agner said she had met with some aldermen recently to hear the concerns. Agner said City Attorney Robert Latham is working on a new interlocal agreement that she hopes will take those issues off the table.

Agner said she has simplified what the YMCA wants, which is basically to run leagues and programs. Agner said the YMCA wants management of the Margaret Martin gym, the baseball fields at Duncan Park and the pool when it is built. The YMCA already has authority over the multipurpose fields off Liberty Road near where the pool would be built.

Agner said she has taken supervision of city employees off the table. However, she said she hopes as employees resign or retire, that the YMCA would be allowed to hire people for recreation.

“We hope this moves things along,” she said.

Arceneaux-Mathis agreed that $45,000 should be the maximum amount budgeted for the new recreation department head.

Later in the meeting, Arceneaux-Mathis said the addition of a recreation head might factor into the city’s consideration of a millage increase for the next fiscal year. Any millage increase would primarily serve to issue raises to Natchez policemen and firefighters, officials said during Friday’s meeting.