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City approves $60K to fix erosion damage at county building

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved a $60,000 contribution to fix erosion damage at a county building in danger of collapsing.

During their Tuesday meeting, City officials said water coming off of city property was causing erosion underneath the county-owned Department of Human Services building, located at John A. Quitman Boulevard, Liberty Road and Melrose Avenue.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors is applying for an Emergency Watershed Protection Program grant to support the project and is expected to pay approximately $250,000 for the project, Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said, adding the city has only been asked for a contribution of $60,000.

Alderman Dan Dillard questioned whether the money for a county project was in the city’s budget, and said, “It is not free money. It has to be found money.”

“This building could collapse with people inside,” Alderwoman Valencia Hall said, adding the city is partly responsible.

Natchez Public Works Director Justin Dollar said the damage started approximately four years ago when the city removed a section of damaged pipe that was causing the roadway in front of the building to flood.

After doing so, the water no longer flooded the road but was still not draining, Dollar said, adding the pipe needed to be replaced.

A motion to contribute $60,000 to the project passed 5-0 with Alderwoman Sarah Carter Smith abstaining due to a family connection to the affected land.

In other matters during Tuesday’s meeting of the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen, the board:

4 Received the year 2020 payment of franchise fees from Waste Management in the amount of $16,069.22.

4 Heard a request from Fred and Melinda Kent, owners of The Kitchen on Main Street, for outdoor seating in the parking space beside the restaurant.

4 Accepted a grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for $157,056 to purchase a new roof for Natchez City Hall, which requires a local match of $84,858.

4 Heard a presentation from Katie Ernst of Leadership Natchez’s Class of 2020, which has agreed to donate $3,700 to city park improvements.

4 Unanimously approved a contribution of $2,500 to market the annual Natchez Euro Fest antique car show this April.

4 Unanimously allowed Eero, a wireless WiFi connection provider, to do a free assessment that would determine the cost of installing routers in areas of the city with poor internet service.

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