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Invest in this community with dollars

The world outside the boundaries of Adams County and Concordia Parish made more than $42,000 off the Natchez municipal elections.

That doesn’t count unreported funds.

It’s a ridiculous notion. Men and women seeking to make a better Natchez take their money outside the city in the process of the campaign.

Some of those seeking county office last fall did the same thing, spending a combined $6,297.61 of local dollars out of town.

That means approximately $50,000 has left our great community in this most recent election cycle.

Why?

Candidates will argue a variety of things — some services aren’t available in Natchez, campaign signs are cheaper online, there are no political consultants in Natchez.

Those arguments are true on most accounts, but do they justify sending $50,000 out of our community?

Every candidate in the city’s races who has turned in a campaign finance report with itemized reports and expenditures of more than $1,500 has spent at least some money outside of Natchez — except for one.

No one knows better how sales tax revenues affect the City of Natchez than Donnie Holloway.

And I bet that’s why none of Holloway’s campaign money crossed the city line.

Holloway has been city clerk for a decade. He was responsible for the city’s finances in the months after Hurricane Katrina when sales tax revenue from an increased population of evacuees was pouring in.

He was counting pennies in 2008 and 2009 when the bottom fell out of the national and local economies and the people stopped spending.

The city’s buck stops with Holloway each month when payroll is due and bills roll in.

It’s likely Holloway would quickly find a place for the sales tax revenue that could have been generated by $50,000 in sales this past year.

Natchez is not a big city. We don’t have very many big box stores with cutthroat prices.

We don’t have highly experienced, costly political consultants.

Smith Printing, Lazarus Arts, Sign Graphics, Maxwell Printing and Southern Signs will likely never be able to compete with the online pricing available on signs and T-shirts.

But those businesses, the local wannabe political gurus, and the Natchez technology geeks do contribute daily to making Natchez a better place.

They pay local taxes, employ local people, shop in local stores and turn the dollar over in our community.

Yes, far more than $50,000 WAS spent locally in this campaign, thankfully.

But sometimes it’s not about what we have; it’s about what we’ve lost.

Natchez is a fine community with countless political resources.

It’s great that so many people are willing to invest in our community by seeking public office.

We need and welcome that investment.

But our local businesses also need the investment of cash money.

Next time, let’s keep our politics — and our money — at home, guys.

 

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.