Board of Supervisors approve funding for air travel study

Published 7:51 pm Tuesday, June 8, 2021

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved funding a third of the $12,500 cost of an air travel study that could potentially allow the Natchez-Adams County Airport to recruit small passenger planes as regular airport tenants.

The airport has considered such tenants as Breeze and Boutique Air, both nine-passenger plane airlines who could have regular flights in and out of Natchez. The airport has not had regularly scheduled commercial passenger service since the mid-1990s, according to the airport’s historical records.

Board of Supervisors President Angela Hutchins said the airport commission would front one-third of the cost of the study while the City of Natchez could also give a third pending approval by the Board of Aldermen.

Natchez-Adams County Airport Director Richard Nelson said the study would provide information to travelers as well as pave the way to receive federal grants for further improvements at the airport.

“Hopefully, the study will provide the Natchez-Adams County Airport with valuable information on how the airport needs to proceed to pursue air-service development for the airport,” Nelson said.

In other matters during Monday’s meeting of the Adams County Board of Supervisors, the board discussed a complaint filed to the Mississippi Ethics Commission regarding the Adams County Tax Assessor’s office.

The ethics commission has dismissed a real estate website’s claim that Adams County officials are not making tax assessment records accessible to the public.

The ethics commission oversees the administration of the state’s public records laws.

During Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Adams County Board of Supervisors, board attorney Scott Slover said a representative of Zillow — a website that provides information about properties available for sale — filed a complaint against the county to the ethics commission earlier this year.

The complaint said the Adams County Tax Assessor’s office unlawfully denied a request for an electronic copy of the 2020 tax assessment for all land parcels in Adams County.

Slover said the ethics commission recently dismissed this complaint. Such tax records are public information. However, the county can charge a fee for providing the data, according to the ethics commission.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously set the fee at $1,000 on Monday — an amount which the ethics commission has deemed reasonable. 

The Board of Supervisors also approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Jefferson and Franklin counties and Alcorn State University to apply for $17 million through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program.

Formerly called BUILD or TIGER, the RAISE grant program is highly competitive and one of few DOT programs where local governments nationwide compete for transportation funds, according to a release from the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

If approved, Hutchins said funds could be split so that each county would have $5 million and Alcorn would have $2 million to use for capital improvement projects.

While the board has not determined any specifics on how the funds would be used, Hutchins said a top priority is widening and resurfacing Morgantown Road, which is estimated to cost more than $3 million.