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City gets $73K for infrastructure

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez officials said they received the first check from what they are calling “Amazon money,” a percentage of dollars the Mississippi Legislature allocated to cities and counties from a combination of revenue collected in internet sales taxes and the state lottery created in 2019.

Community Development Director James Johnston said the initial check from the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2018 House Bill 1 received near the end of January totaled $73,315.45 and would be the first of eight checks from the revenue that the city should receive over the next four years.

Johnston said the city should receive two checks each year — one in January and another in July — that should increase in value by 25% each year.

“We may receive $558,000, give or take, over the course of four years,” Johnston said.

The amount of money the city received is based on the amount of money that the city had spent on infrastructure over the last five years, Johnston said.

During Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen, Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said the money could only be used to repair, maintain or reconstruct existing infrastructure — as outlined in House Bill 1 — and cannot be used for any new projects.

“It can only be used for existing infrastructure and cannot be used for any new construction,” Grennell said. “For example … it can go toward asphalt and overlay on our existing streets.”

Historically the city received money from city-owned land leased to Magnolia Bluffs Casino for 4.5% of gaming revenue and used that for street overlay projects.

“Something to think about, when the 4.5% money comes in, you might want to make some modifications there,” Grennell said to the Board of Aldermen. “That would be the prerogative of the board.”