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Natchez officials host closed meeting concerning potential land donation to the city

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen hosted a special called meeting Monday to discuss a potential property donation in an undisclosed location to the City of Natchez.

The land transaction was dubbed “Project Phoenix.”

Gibson said the landowner’s identity and the details regarding the transaction are being kept confidential at the owner’s request or else the city would forfeit the donation.

The board entered into executive session with Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ to discuss the land donation on Monday, which was closed to the public.

After returning to the open meeting, the board voted unanimously to allow officials to hire an appraiser to determine the fair market value of the property and hire an inspector to do a Phase I environmental study.

After the meeting, City Attorney Bryan Callaway said it could cost between $2,500 to $5,000 for the appraisal but did not have quotes for the appraisal and environmental study as of Tuesday.

Callaway said he could not provide more information about the land that could be donated to the city.

“At this time, we have to respect this confidentiality agreement we have with the potential donor,” Callaway said. “If we breach that, we’re going to breach an opportunity for the city that would be definitely beneficial to the city if we can pull this together.”

In other matters during Monday’s meeting, the board heard a proposal from IT Director Edmond Perrault for a new IT contract with Jackson-based Netlink Voice. Perrault said the new contract would reduce the city’s IT costs from approximately $21,000 per month to approximately $16,000 per month with an upfront fee of $41,450 and help the city overcome current challenges with security, data storage, email, WiFi, phones and more. Officials took the proposal under advisement.

The board also voted unanimously to allow the Kiwanis Club to restore a bike trail at Duncan Park as the club’s community service project.

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