Russ: Negative comments have consequences

Published 10:26 am Friday, May 17, 2024

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Editor’s note: This is the first in a three-part update on economic development efforts in Adams County.

NATCHEZ — Negative comments have negative consequences.

So says Chandler Russ, executive director of Natchez Inc., who told members of the Natchez Rotary Club last week that he was shocked to read negative feedback about the groundbreaking for the Magnolia Trace luxury RV resort in Adams County.

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Russ said he wasn’t the only one who was shocked to see the negativity on social media. The owners of the business, who are about to invest $30 million in Adams County, were stunned, too.

“As I read some of the crazy comments regarding Magnolia Trace, about business and government and what they are doing and not doing, I thought, some in this community need an economics lesson because it’s vital to what we do.”

Russ spoke to the Rotary Club of Natchez this week and discussed Natchez Inc. and its funding arm, Natchez Now, some of Natchez Inc.’s successes, as well as challenges the city and county must face in order to grow economically.

For people who made negative comments on Facebook about Magnolia Trace, he said businesses exist only to make money.

“One thing that is important to remember is companies do not exist to provide jobs. They do not exist to pay taxes or add money to that bucket of wealth we have been talking about. They are on this planet to make money. Period. If they don’t make money, they close, and it’s that simple,” Russ said.

“Our existing companies need to be encouraged, not berated. New companies need to be welcomed, not protested,” he said. One of the main characteristics of some of the strong economies of the world is that they have the full support of people and local governments.”

“I was greatly pleased to see that there were 12 or 15 people who responded to those negative comments and asked things like how can this be bad for Natchez and Adams County …

“Those companies, they read those negative comments, too. They see the same thing that you and I read. Then, those companies are on the phone and telling me they never expected a backlash. I told them we didn’t either,” Russ said. “Just know that your actions have bigger meaning. I know I’m preaching to the choir here. Those negative people out there need to be educated.”

Natchez Inc. since its inception is responsible for $700 million in investment in Natchez and Adams County.

“Those are real numbers. We aren’t just throwing numbers out there and hope people believe them,” Russ said, those are verifiable numbers.

“In 13 years of operation, we have announced more than a billion dollars in projects and over 75 percent of that has been realized. Nine hundred jobs have been realized and that transfers to $70 million in annual payroll. That is a lot of money that is circulated into our local economy every year. Even with incentives, those companies are collectively paying over $2 billion in real and personal property taxes.”