What do the City Aldermen do that cannot be accomplished by the Board of Supervisors?
That question has been asked and the subject has been reviewed, and no one at the City has yet been able to provide an answer to that question.
What does the City Mayor do that cannot be accomplished by the County Administrator or a Deputy County Administrator under the supervision of the Board of Supervisors?
That question has been asked and the subject has been reviewed, and no one at the City has yet been able to provide an answer to that question.
If there is no longer a Mayor, the Board of Aldermen, and the City Judge, will the residents of the former City still have representation?
Everyone continues to have representation through the SAME Supervisor on the Board of Supervisors, the SAME legislators, the SAME 3 county judges who have reduced workloads due to county depopulation. The proposed legislation does NOT affect the Board of Supervisors, the County Administrator, the Chancery Court, the Circuit Court, the County Court, the Justice Court, the Youth Court, the clerks for those courts, juvenile detention, the District Attorney, or the County Prosecutor. The proposed legislation does NOT affect the Coroner, Sheriff, Tax Assessor, Tax Collector, Board of Supervisors Attorney, bookkeeping, purchasing, elections, emergency management, ambulance, AirEvac, mental health, human resources, information technology, inventory, Road Department, solid waste, Water Works, Volunteer Fire. The proposed legislation eliminates the Mayor, Aldermen, and City Judge. The proposed legislation puts ordinances and tourism under the Board of Supervisors and opens the door for a Deputy County Administrator to assist in matters of the former City boundaries.
How will utilities for residents within City boundaries be handled?
Proposed legislation should not affect street lights or electric service through Entergy and Southwest. Gas service will be same (through Atmos). Water service depends with no change or attempts to go after water rights. Waste management will ultimately be through contract with Board of Supervisors. Law enforcement and fire protection will be consolidated under the Board of Supervisors as will inspections and code enforcement—areas long ago studied and recommended for consolidation. The County Administrator will be tasked with the functions of the present City Clerk. Parks and Recreation will fall under the Board of Supervisors.
What are the goals of the proposed legislation do?
The goals of the proposed legislation are for the state to divert to the County those same taxes now diverted to the City and to dissolve the Natchez city government, resulting in OneBoard, OneVoice for Adams County, Mississippi and reduction of unnecessary costs to taxpayers, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars by eliminating unnecessary elected public officials. The proposed legislation may also provide for an economic development district at the Natchez Center downtown entertainment/bluff area with special millage, AND for the County to handle all matters relative thereto, AND for the tax diversion to be forwarded to the County to pay first the former City’s indebtedness then to the County general fund.
What will the proposed legislation do? LINK to Draft OneBoard Org Chart
- Current Enabling Laws: Repeal City’s Special Charter of 1846, as well as the City’s 1954 Code, 1969 Code, 1997 Code, and any other codes and ordinances of whatever kind, whether general or permanent, as supplemented, amended, revised, codified, recodified by whatever method and/or of whatever kind, as well as any and all other Mississippi laws necessary so that the existing Municipality of Natchez, Mississippi is dissolved.
- Elected City Officials: Eliminate 8 unnecessary City elected officials and support. Immediately eliminates $300,000-$500,000 per year!
- Future Taxes and Bonds: Immediately eliminate possibility of all (new) future City taxes and (new) future City bond issues foisted on current City residents by current City elected officials. Reduces costs to taxpayers, forces planning, increases efficiencies. Today’s City residents will CONTINUE to be subjected to paying off EXISTING debt of today’s existing City of Natchez until debt paid; See below “More About Dissolution”
- Government Functions: All government functions of Adams County, Mississippi handled by OneBoard and a County Administrator.
- Accounting: Establish one government accounting function for Adams County, Mississippi. Private businesses and their employees should not be punished by irresponsible public officials’ decisions—four City clerks in 2 years.
- Demographics and Taxes: Preserve assets of Adams County, Mississippi with its declining population, increasing poverty rate, and declining tax base.
- Conserve Assets: Conserve monies for basic, traditional government support services.
- Fund Support Services: Provide for basic, traditional government support services now insufficiently funded or not funded.
- Interlocal Agreements: Eliminate clumsy, ineffective, and difficult-to-manage inter-local agreements, resulting in reduction of costs, number of elected public officials involved in this sort of management from 12 to 5. Result would be five (5) Supervisors with Manager rather than seven (7) City and five (5) County elected public officials and no City Manager.
- Unify: Level the playing field through unifying county residents. Immediately STOPS City’s climate for anti-business and anti-development that has driven businesses such as Roux 61 and Tractor Supply into the County.
- Turf Battles Over: Eliminate “City versus County” turf battles for services applicable to all Adams County residents, regardless of address. Supports staff consolidation; better for Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and contracts negotiations. Examples: garbage collection, recreation.
- Plan: Force planning, prioritization, and funding of countywide infrastructure projects making County more attractive to business and for participation in a regional economy. Smart Government—cohesive, comprehensive. Examples: rail, bridges, drainage, sanitation and sewer, roads, emergency services.
- Evaluation: Force countywide evaluation of public garages and repair facilities; increases flexibility and reduction of costs of managing public vehicle fleet. Reduces costs to taxpayers, forces planning, increases efficiencies. City has taken little or no action after requests over years.
- Surplus Properties: Force countywide plan to evaluate essential public properties and to put/return surplus public properties on property tax rolls. Encourages efficient management; promotes development; generates for Adams County property taxes from those properties formerly not on the tax rolls. City has taken little or no action after requests over years.
- Economic Development: Promote economic development for Adams County, Mississippi.
- Regional Economy: Posture Adams County, Mississippi for participation in a regional economy.
- Tourism: Immediately eliminate City’s raid on tourism tax monies. Promotes tourism efforts and convention center debt service to pay off convention center as a priority. Today’s City residents will CONTINUE to be subjected to paying off EXISTING debt of today’s existing City of Natchez until debt paid; See below “More About Dissolution”
- Convention Center Debt: Force attention to paying off convention center debt by residents residing within the pre-dissolution City boundaries.
Generally, how would the special taxing districts work?
We have a group working on legislation to address these issues now. Community input has been productive. Anyone who has a particular item for consideration in this draft legislation should contact ONEBOARD at 329 Market Street, Natchez, MS 39120, Ph. 601.445.4148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How would the proposed legislation affect the Natchez Center downtown area?
The core Natchez Center downtown entertainment/bluff area can be established as an economic development district with special millage for funding to support a deputy county administrator position for the Natchez Center downtown entertainment/buff area under the supervision of the County Administrator. Special tourism taxes (hotel, B&B, food/beverage, heads on beds) remain.
How would sales taxes be handled?
Sales tax is 7% of any sales. Cities receive approximately 20% of that 7%; Counties receive none. THEREFORE, Adams County can request legislative authorization for a tax diversion (that otherwise would go to what would become the former City of Natchez) IN Adams County to effect adequate funding for sheriff, fire, and road departments.
Why won’t the BOS provide the match money to the City for the Stennis forums on consolidation?
The BOS met recently to consider the City’s request but did not approve the match. Specifics about the BOS reasoning would have to be directed to the BOS. Using available resources, rolling up their sleeves to do the hard work, reviewing available records and reports, and conserving public monies for services seems characteristic of county boards of supervisors—probably because they know they well their broad responsibilities to everyone in their respective counties. BOS generally run lean. At least some, if not all, at our BOS are exhibiting intellectual curiosity and are reading available materials in the context of population shrinkage, job losses effect on the economy, and other variables and are applying the information to today’s situation for our area. Boards of supervisors are already equipped to provide basic governmental functions and services to the residents of their entire county. It would be inconsistent with their mission for BOS to support duplicative services. In some instances, BOS even enter into interlocal agreements. Examples are found at http://www.ago.state.ms.us/divisions/interlocal-agreements/. Our BOS is no different. No doubt, our local taxpayers have their own “to-do” list for our BOS, but our BOS has already stepped up its game with a County Administrator who administers the BOS program, pays the bills, identifies problems, and takes concerns to our BOS for resolution. There is not a lot of fluff with this BOS. They probably know well that those who live “out in the County” will not put up with it and they seem to give attention to affordability for services.
Where can I find City of Natchez and Adams County documents on file with the Secretary of State?
Some City of Natchez and Adams County documents can be found at the Mississippi Secretary of State. Visit Search for Municipal and County Documents http://www.sos.ms.gov/BusinessServices/Pages/Municipality-Search.aspx.
Where can I find an updated list of non-profits in Natchez and in Adams County, Mississippi?
You can search for non-profits by visiting https://corp.sos.ms.gov/corpreporting/Corp/BusinessSearch3. For non-profits in all of Adams County, apply the county filter. For non-profits only in Natchez, apply the Natchez filter. You can also apply the filter for “good standing.” On www.OneBoardNatchezAdams.com, under “Documents,” you will find excel spreadsheets of non-profits in all of Adams County and in Natchez.
Without a City Police Department, how would speeding violations be handled?
State troopers handle speeding violations today, so there is no expected change.
What happens to the name, Natchez?
The name, Natchez, remains. Remember that Adams County also has Washington, Cranfield, Sibley, and Kingston.
Does the Board of Supervisors have authority for zoning and planning?
Yes, except for farms.
Where would Natchez stand for grants?
OneBoard has been advised that Natchez will still be eligible for grants, and further that an Economic Development Area can be established for the Natchez historic center/bluff/entertainment district. Miss. A.G. Opinion No. 2018-00213 (Aug. 3, 2018)
Explain difference between annexation and dissolution where City debt service is concerned.
The City assesses millage on all taxable property in the City. Property owners annexed into the City “take on” existing and new City debt service. This is a reason City public officials who are proponents of annexation push to annex properties in the county. This is a reason many property owners do not want to be annexed by the City.
When the City is dissolved, property owners within the former City boundaries pay off former (dissolved) City debt before they are on equal footing with property owners who were “in the County.” This is a reason for current City property owners to support dissolution before the City public officials burden City property owners with more taxes and debt while population and tax base are declining.
Can the Board of Supervisors contribute to a Main Street Association?
According to Miss. A.G. Opinion No. 20180-00213 (Aug. 3, 2018), it cannot, but the Board of Supervisors may establish an economic development district.
What does OneBoard say about the Stennis Institute presentations on the different forms of Mississippi municipal government and consolidation?
See Paul Benoist’s editorial(s) on the OneBoardnatchezadams website and in the various news publications.
What effect does OneBoard’s initiative have on voter-balance?
The OneBoard initiative is presumed voter-balance neutral for the following reasons. Everyone in Adams County, regardless of where their property is located, has a Supervisor on the Board of Supervisors. The make-up of the Board of Supervisors, from a voter balance standpoint, has been long-established, has remained stable, and has not come under question. If the voter balance for the Board of Supervisors comes under question, it would not be because of the OneBoard initiative but as a trigger that would develop regardless of the existence of the OneBoard initiative.
Does the current form of city government prevent the Mayor and Board of Aldermen from performing basic government administrative functions such as balancing city accounts, spending responsibly, preparing/approving/indexing/numbering minutes, complying with public records and open meetings laws?
No. Stennis Institute says, “any of the forms of government can be effective” depending on elected officials’ behavior. For city elected officials or their “handlers” to attribute irresponsible city elected officials’ incompetent actions on government form is completely misplaced, and the good people of this area can see through this. Changing out forms of government, a red herring and delay tactic, will not cure our area population and economy problems.
What are the risks if all public funds are budgeted and administered under 1-level Adams County Board of Supervisors with a County Administrator rather than the public funds administered under the current 2-level City of Natchez and the Board of Supervisors with a County Administrator?
It would be a false premise to suggest that now or in the future the City of Natchez budget and finance program offers a secure “back-up” to any possible risk in Adams County. See “Budget and Finances” under City Failures on the OneBoardnatchezadams website. Risk avoidance comes with established systems and practices that will reduce or eliminate risk. Unlike the City of Natchez, the Board of Supervisors with a County Administrator has established and substantially follows practices of government accounting consistent with dictates of Mississippi law, quickly acting to reconcile human errors. This is how it should work. The Board of Supervisors’ system and practices include checks and balances, regular public reporting, transparency, and timely audits. Accurate reports open and immediately available to the public upon request are produced. This practice reduces, if not eliminates, risks. With consolidation of all local government functions under the Board of Supervisors, the public will have “all eyes on 5” Supervisors and a County Administrator rather than on 8 unnecessary City elected officials plus the 5 Supervisors elected to the Board of Supervisors. If the Board of Supervisors with its County Administrator slips up, it will be easier for the public to address under the “all eyes on 5” Supervisors plan. Our community cannot suffer through more of the irresponsible City practices. As it stands now, the City is behind in audits, has dozens of unreconciled accounts, does not know its balances, does not pay debts timely, continues to borrow money, and now has public fundraising for services that are government responsibilities. The City’s practices hurt our area. Further, the City’s poor money management practices spill over to the County when the City calls on the County for help after the City has lost focus of its responsibility to fund fundamental government services. The area can no longer support or afford the 2-level local government.
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