Monday, November 02, 2009

Rec Complex Will Benefit Citizens

The following letter was published today in the Natchez Democrat.

Like many people in this community, I strongly support the concept of a recreation complex, but I worry whether our elected officials are capable of pulling it off. They haven’t been too impressive lately.

However, I discovered something that causes me to be able to wholeheartedly support the Referendum. That something is the Interlocal Agreement that was signed by the City, the County, and the School Board; and it lays out exactly what will happen if the Referendum passes. Have you read it? If not, you should before you cast your vote. You can get a copy from the City Clerk’s office or at the Library – or you can download a copy from the Library’s website (

This Agreement establishes a Recreation Commission, composed of three persons appointed by each of the three governing authorities. Although subject to approval by the governing authorities, the Commission will do most of the work.

“The Recreation Commission shall make recommendation for the establishment, operation, and maintenance of recreational facilities and programs in Adams County; and shall make a report and recommendations to the three governing boards for the establishing, financing, construction, and operation of a countywide comprehensive recreation program for Adams County.”

Plus, the Commission is to have other specified duties, including hiring a Director of Recreation and Parks and other employees; entering into contracts, acquiring land, buildings, and facilities; apply for grants or loans; authorizing studies or surveys; establishing and collecting fees; and so on. Furthermore, the Agreement requires the Commission to hold public hearings to determine the opinions of the citizens.

All our elected officials have to do is appoint quality people to this Commission and let them do their job. The public will have to be vigilant to make sure these appointments are representative of our community and possess the appropriate skills for the job. Then we must involve ourselves in the process itself.

This represents an opportunity for the City and County to work together – by removing the politics and establishing instead a credible commission. Maybe this will provide an excellent blueprint for action on other issues that have proven so difficult.

I support the building of a recreation complex, because it can benefit our citizens and improve the economy at the same time. And I support the referendum because I think it lays out a plan for success that may not occur otherwise.