One of the more brilliant moves (read sarcasm) of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen last Tuesday was to amend the City Ordinance to allow waiving of building permit fees in certain circumstances. What are those circumstances?
One circumstance is for "a bona fide nonprofit organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity". I like the way the City is using this very popular organization to justify its grab for power. It even uses their name in the ordinance itself. They said Habitat had requested that their building fees be waived. This is not true. What Habitat asked for was that the fee be waived for water hookup. They didn't even address this issue at all, because it didn't serve their purposes.
The other circumstance is for "an economic development facility that will foster the development and improvement of the community in which it is located and the civic, social, educational, cultural, economic, or industrial welfare thereof including provision for new employment, increase in the tax base, or otherwise provide a significant economic benefit to the city of Natchez". Whoo! That covers a lot!
But the key to the whole amendment lies in these words: "the Board may grant an exemption, waiver, or discount". Note the use of "may". The requirements are so nebulous that anyone could qualify - but only those that suck up to the Board enough will actually get it. This is a prescription for corruption if I've ever seen one. This Board has no shame!
See the article in the Democrat, the excellent column by Ben Hillyer, and the editorial. The exact wording of the amendment was in the Legals in the November 17 issue of the Democrat - sorry I couldn't find it online.