City of Natchez offers remote workers $6K incentives

Published 9:43 pm Thursday, October 15, 2020

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NATCHEZ — City of Natchez officials agreed Tuesday to a remote worker incentive program that would pay individuals up to $6,000 plus $2,500 in relocation costs if they purchase a property in Natchez while working from home.

“It has been our desire that the City of Natchez to be the first city in Mississippi to actually roll out an exciting and ambitious program for attracting remote workers and getting them to invest and relocate to Natchez,” said Dan Gibson, Natchez Mayor in Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ presented the program to the Aldermen in August and left them time to consider it before the board voted unanimously in favor of the program in Tuesday’s meeting.

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Visit Natchez would share in the task and cost of publicizing the incentive program that the City of Natchez, Adams County and Natchez Inc. would collectively fund if the Adams County Board of Supervisors approves doing so, Gibson said.

“The City of Natchez, Adams County, Visit Natchez and Natchez Inc. are all working together on something that will bring new life to Natchez and remote workers who have lost the luster for large cities and would rather be domiciled here in our jewel of a town,” Gibson said.

Russ said city or county funds would be paid to Natchez Inc. for disbursement on a case-by-case basis, depending on whether the beneficiary of the program purchases a property in the city or the county.

Russ said the program would initially end once the city has expended a total $180,000 toward the incentives. Each incentive would be paid at a rate of $300 per month to help ensure that the beneficiary would establish a permanent residence in the city and requires them to purchase a property with a minimum value of $150,000, Russ said.

The city would earn the investment back in the form of sales and property taxes within approximately 13 months to two years, Russ said.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many large corporations such as Amazon have allowed their employees to work from home, Russ said, adding those workers may no longer have ties to an office in large metropolitan areas like they did before COVID-19 and even after the pandemic.

“We feel that this could be a three-year event and we’re going to hit while the iron is hot by trying to move as many remote workers to our area as possible in that time,” Russ said. “The timing with the COVID event, in our opinion, is something that we cannot walk away from.”