City should follow procedures

Published 1:01 am Thursday, October 18, 2018

The City of Natchez has found itself at legal odds with some of its residents again over the city’s penchant for not playing by its own rules.

In the latest legal squabble, the city is being sued by a number of residents over how the city handled — or mishandled — the process of seeking developers for the former Natchez General Hospital building on Oak Street.

The city agreed, in a split vote, to give the building to a start-up, non-profit that aims to create retirement housing in the former hospital.

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The problem is, as the citizens’ lawsuits allege, the city did not handle the process fairly.

The city’s original request for proposals sought several things from prospective developers, including $5,000 in earnest money that the non-profit never provided.

In addition, the city sought details of the financial means by which the developers would use to pay for their plans, which was also not provided.

Despite that, the city proceeded with the plan and is in the process of giving away the property.  Now the city’s flagrant disregard for its own request for proposal details will cost the city legal fees in arguing its case against citizens who on the surface certainly seem to be on the right side of the matter.

We urge the city to reconsider its ways and put the public’s best interests and common sense first in its dealings. Had city leaders done this with the hospital proposals, we would likely not be in the current legal mess.