2018 tourism tax revenue for city breaks record
NATCHEZ — Visitors to Natchez spent $110.8 million in 2018, which equated to a record-breaking tourism tax revenue of $1.760 million for the City of Natchez, a tourism official said.
The news came as part of a report from Jennifer Combs, the executive director of the Natchez Convention Promotion Commission to the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen during their regular meeting Tuesday night.
Combs also discussed marketing goals for the 2019 fiscal year and progress from the 2018 fiscal year.
Combs said the NCPC has also made several strides to revamp the Visit Natchez website and social media platforms. As a result, Combs said Visit Natchez has more than 30,000 followers on social media and its website traffic is up by more than 13 percent.
In other matters during Tuesday’s meeting of the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen, the board:
- Unanimously approved minutes for the regularly scheduled board meeting on Feb. 26 and a special called meeting on Mar. 6.
- Hosted a special recognition for the Business of the Month, Magnolia Mariee Bridal Boutique.
- Unanimously approved an $11,760 invoice for Natchez Waterworks for a City Wide Water Improvement Project. A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds the project and the match requirement is funded by Natchez Waterworks.
- Unanimously approved a motion that a revision be added to the minutes in regards to a previous invoice paid by Natchez Waterworks. The project that had been approved during the Feb. 26 meeting. The Board approved an invoice for $5,880 on Feb. 26, when the invoice should have read $24,990, Community Development Director James Johnston said.
- The Natchez Waterworks Board of Commissioners also passed a motion to apply for a $1,994,987 loan from the Mississippi State Department of Health during its meeting on March 27, Johnston said, which would serve as the match for the CDBG and requested that the application be added to the minutes for the board of aldermen. The board unanimously approved a motion to that effect during Tuesday’s meeting.
- Unanimously approved invoices for the Natchez Railway Project, which consists of ongoing repairs to a 65-mile stretch of railway connecting Natchez and Brookhaven funded by a $10.7-million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER Discretionary Grant and a local match supplied by funds from the Natchez Railroad. Invoices for a two-month period approved Tuesday included a federal contribution of $1,246,991.29 and a local contribution by the Natchez Railroad of $415,663.78 for a total invoice of $1,662,655.07.
- Unanimously approved a motion recognizing the City of Natchez as a project sponsor of an Affordable Housing Program in partnership with Concordia Bank and Home Bank with the purpose of supporting health and safety needs of special-needs households.
- Unanimously approved an open grant application from Entergy for a $115,000 street lighting improvement project between Main, Franklin and Commerce streets. Of the project cost, $86,250 would be funded by Entergy while the city would pay $28,750 match during the 2020 fiscal year.
- Unanimously approved a request from Claude Jackson, the city’s director of network infrastructure, for $22,500 for hardware and software upgrades to the city’s network.
- Heard a presentation from Jennifer Combs, the executive director of Natchez
- Unanimously approved a resolution in appreciation of the work of Lynsey Smith, a Vicksburg native who has worked as the Director of Sales for the NCPC since 2013.
- Unanimously approved a request from Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong to purchase the four new Dodge Chargers approved earlier this year from the Sango Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership in Natchez, pending further validation by the City Attorney Robert Latham to ensure the purchase would be in compliance with state purchasing laws.
- Unanimously approved a motion by Alderwoman Joyce-Arceneaux-Mathis that the City of Natchez begin development of a comprehensive housing agenda for the city in terms of providing affordable and safe housing.
- Heard a presentation from City Planning and Zoning Director Rico Giani regarding an upcoming community clean up project. Volunteers plan to meet at Memorial Park at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, to receive supplies and then separate into groups to clean up trash in different neighborhoods around the city. Giani said the Natchez Public Works Department would also be providing pickup services upon request for bulk trash items, including landscaping debris such as tree limbs or shrub trimmings and old discarded furniture beginning April 15 until April 27. To request a pickup or for more information, call Public Works at 601-445-6652, or Giani at 601-445-7518.
Latham, said items for executive session included discussion of the Old General Hospital ruling, potential property lease Under the Hill, a property issue regarding the old Carpenter School on Union Street, potential litigation regarding the city’s 5 percent portion of casino gaming revenue that had not been received and personnel issues concerning the city clerk’s and planning offices.