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Natchez mayor to get city-owned vehicle

NATCHEZ — Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson is getting a new car bearing a city seal to represent Natchez in his travels after the board of aldermen unanimously approved a motion to that effect in Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Gibson said the car is a 2020 Ford Explorer to be purchased locally from the Natchez Ford dealership for $47,107.

The funds for the car would come from $92,000 in “windfall savings” the city realized in the renewal of their worker’s comp insurance from Mississippi Municipal Service Company, Gibson said.

“We’d already budgeted for this and had budgeted $348,000. … The 2021 renewal is $255,477. That is a subtotal in savings of $92,000,” Gibson said.

Gibson said the current fiscal year budget would be ending in the black while the city has already passed a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year.

The vehicle would be owned by the City of Natchez and would be used to make a good impression to potential new investors, Gibson said.

“It is really not just the mayor’s vehicle but is the City of Natchez vehicle that represents the city. … It is an essential piece of equipment when you’re showing off this beautiful affluent city to affluent, visiting prospective new investors,” Gibson said. “We have to be putting our best foot forward when making a first impression.”

Some of the remaining funds found in the budget would be used for beautification and cleaning of adjudicated properties, Gibson said.

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

* Unanimously approved a resolution to enter into a joint agreement with the Adams County Board of Supervisors to hire former congressman Gregg Harper with Watkins & Eager to provide lobbyist services to the city and county at a rate of $8,000 per month.

* Heard concerns from citizens, Mona Bates and Michael Boykin, about alleged illegal and disruptive activity at a convenience store on Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

* Heard a presentation from Natchez National Historical Park Superintendent Kathleen Bond and Sher Sheshab Heter-C.M. Boxley for a status of the donation of nine city-owned land parcels at Forks of the Road to the National Park Service. Bond said the donation should be finalized within the year 2020.

* Hired Sevetrius Dillon to replace Denise Bell as Natchez’s chief deputy city clerk.

* Unanimously agreed to advertise for a personnel officer and replacement hires for Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong who will be retiring this year and former Natchez Fire Chief Ventris Green, who retired last month.