Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Non Meeting

Last time at the meeting of the Mayor and Aldermen, we had the budget public hearing on the non budget. This time we had the non meeting. With this group, there is never a dull moment!

The Mayor apologized to the public and said there could not be a meeting since there was no quorum. There is, of course, a story here.

As we all know, the Board always meets prior to the public meeting in the little room in the back. And as we all suspect, it is in there that all the real decisions are made. They work out their deals in there and then come out and put on a pretty face for the public. However, something went wrong this time - or right maybe.

Alderman West was not there. Right before the public meeting, Aldermen Arceneaux-Mathis and Gray left the back room, continued on out of the building, and never returned. Hmmm! I think they were mad, don't you? Apparently, something was being voted on, and they were on the losing side of a 3-2 vote. I imagine they thought Aldermen West would vote with them, which would result in a tie vote - and the Mayor might break the tie. Better to leave and try again when everyone was there.

To justify this kind of extreme behavior, it must have been something really big and important. According to the Natchez Democrat, Aldermen Arceneaux-Mathis and Gray were not happy with the way things were being done in there. Alderman Gray was quoted as saying:

“I didn’t like the way we were handling business in executive session about the possible sale of city property. For legal purposes, I was not satisfied with what they were saying back there. . . I felt like to keep the city out of another lawsuit, it was best for me to just convene at another meeting instead of this meeting."
And Aldermen Arceneaux-Mathis:

“We need to legally accept requests for proposals, not jump on any one bandwagon. That developer might be who we end up with, but we’re trying to be legal. We don’t jump with the first person we see. We need to look at everybody and be fair.”
Here's another quote from the article:

"Gray said he was upset because the item in question was not on the agenda, and therefore shouldn’t be discussed."
Now where have I heard that before? Hey! This is starting to look good. Do you think maybe we're going to have someone with ethics?

Just to make matters juicier, I heard a rumor that they were considering a casino! (Now, this is just a rumor, and I can't prove it.) They had better be really, really, really careful how they handle a casino, because there are some strong feelings about that here - and some of those feelings belong to people with money to file lawsuits. I don't know about any of you, but if they try to build another casino in Natchez, this is one grandmother who is going to throw herself in front of a bulldozer.


Anonymous said...

I'd take a casino over a smoke stack poluting industry, any day. (if I had to choose and unfortunately, we probably do) The Cato? guy purchased the Briars and buying land or a hotel is a prerequisite to operate a casino I believe, I'm not sure of all the legalities but, I think this particular casino deal is definitely going to happen. But, I agree, we don't want too many casnios blighting the entire bluff. The present casino here, did not bring the revenu that many had expected, but it does offer employment to the area. I would like to know the tax revenu Isle of Capri brings to Natchez.

nottabelle said...

If a casino is built, I'd much rather have it below the Briars, at least it wouldn't mar the look of the city the way the original condo design would have.
But the bigger point is the walkout! I am impressed that there are a couple of our alderpeople that seem to show a little bit of backbone here. At least that's how it seems today.

Casey Ann said...

At least for now, I don't think we have to worry about smokestacks in downtown Natchez. And I'm not so sure they're worse than casinos. I have no idea what's happening with the casino below the Briars. It's on again, off again. The developer sure doesn't sound like a upstanding citizen - but then what casino owner is! However, that casino is in the county, and it's not as worrisome to me as the one they want to put below the bluffs on Roth Hill.

Anonymous said...

Hunch: There is a bigtime casino operator knocking on the door and wanting to invest cash in Natchez.
Hunch: Other proposals are lurcking and may pay the right individuals better. Likely minority group, maybe from Atlanta.

Anonymous said...

Did you all know that City Engineer David Gardner brought a signed contract from a casino developer to the "non-meeting". That's what the walkout was all about. He did it against the mayor's request that he not receive proposals prior to the RFP being sent out. Seems like the City Engineer needs to learn his role in city government.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like that deal is probably going through now. The cash must have made it to town.

Anonymous said...

The City Council voted today - 12-18-06 to award the Roth Hill Casino contract to the Lane Company out of Atlanta.

Supposedly, it's a 40 year lease and not an outright sale.

Supposedly, it's a boat and a botanical garden. Compatible with the Trails project, etc.