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City raises fines for littering to $500

NATCHEZ — Those who choose to litter in Natchez may also pay a $500 fine for doing so.

The Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen have increased the fine for littering inside city limits from $150 to $500 during their Tuesday meeting.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson recommended the change along with stating that at least 20 signs would be posted throughout the city regarding the fine to deter the public from littering.

“There are people literally throwing out entire bags of garbage in our city,” Gibson said. “This is unacceptable.”

Gibson said the city had a $150 fine with no signs posted to indicate what the fine is or that there is a penalty for litter.

“One hundred and fifty is too low. We need at least $250 and we need signs around town and we need to be enforcing our ordinance against litter. We need an amount that will get people’s attention.”

Natchez Police Chief Joseph Daughtry said the police department would be responsible for enforcing the fine and writing tickets. As with other misdemeanor offenses, an officer would have to witness the offense in order to write the ticket and can issue a warning instead, he said.

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

  • Appointed Robbie Cade Furdge to fill a vacant position on the city-appointed Natchez Convention Promotion Commission, consisting of President and Chairman Lance Harris, Treasurer Katie McCabe, Barbara Bruce, Helen Moss Smith and Dana Wilson.

The six member NCPC was established by Mississippi legislature for the purpose of encouraging and promoting tourism for the Natchez and Adams County area and is appointed by the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

Alderwoman Sarah Carter Smith, who serves on the city tourism committee with Alderwoman Valencia Hall and Felicia Irving, said the committee considered a total of seven people who applied to the position and narrowed the list of applicants down to three finalists for the board to interview as a whole during a closed meeting Tuesday.

The candidates recommended by the city tourism committee were Eugenie Cates, Neifa Hardy and Furdge.

After the board returned to an open meeting, Frazier and Irving both said the board should interview other candidates before making a decision. Alderman Dan Dillard said he wished the board would consider appointing Cates, who is currently the executive director of Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, to the commission instead because of her experience in marketing and tourism.

However, Alderwoman Sarah Carter Smith made the motion that the board appoint Furdge to the position and her motion was seconded by Alderwoman Valencia Hall.

The motion passed by a vote of 4-2 with Aldermen Billie Joe Frazier and Felicia Irving both voting “nay.”

  • Heard a presentation from the Consulate General of India Dr. Swati Vijay Kulkarni, who joined the meeting virtually from Atlanta.

Kulkarni joined Gibson and Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ on an economic development tour of Natchez earlier this month to discuss a potential economic development prospect that involves trade with India.

In her presentation, Kulkarni thanked officials for hosting them and discussed the connections between India and Mississippi in art, music and film.

  • Heard a presentation from Rico Giani regarding a proposed joint project between the nonprofit Community Alliance and Natchez Rotary Club to build an 18-hole disc golf course in Duncan Park.

Disc golf is played like regular golf but with frisbees thrown into a hoop with a chain basket attached. The benefit of having a disc golf course is that it is affordable to start up, is free for anyone to play and is low maintenance, Giani said.

The estimated cost for an approximately four miles long 18-hole course is just more than $16,000 and could be raised through community sponsorships, he said.

Sponsorship information would be posted on a sign at the beginning of the course that also explains the rules of the game and provides a map of the holes. The course would weave through Duncan Park without impeding the existing amenities, he said.

Some holes would frame Auburn so that disc golfers would have a chance to visit a historic site while playing, Giani said. Officials unanimously passed a motion of support for the project.

  • Unanimously approved a change order for an Emergency Watershed Grand Program project on Cemetery Road that increased the city’s match requirement from approximately $32,400 to $79,300.

Engineer Hayden Kaiser said recent rain events have caused extensive erosion damage to the EWP site at Weymouth Hall to the point that the house is in danger of falling from the bluff.

Originally the total project cost would have been $185,250, which would have made the city’s match approximately $32,400, Kaiser said, adding the project is now approximately $455,600.

Kaiser said letters have been sent to the Natural Resources Conservation Service to see whether they would provide the additional funds needed to continue the project. The city approved the change order pending legal review.

  • Unanimously approved an 8 percent pay increase for four city employees in the Natchez City Clerk’s office, excluding the city clerk and the deputy clerk.

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