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Payday loan smells of poor planning

The City of Natchez announced this week its intention to take out another “payday” loan to help the city get through the next few months.

Borrowing funds is necessary, city leaders say, because tax revenues will be lean until property taxes are collected early next year.

At $300,000, this year’s need is relatively small, at least by recent City of Natchez standards. In the past few years the city has had to borrow funds almost each year to make ends meet at the end of the year.

City leaders have tried to convince citizens that the practice is just fine because they’re simply borrowing against money that they know will come back to them soon. And besides, they say, lots of other local governments do the same thing.

Continuing the practice is silly and continues to waste taxpayer money — although the interest on the short-term loan is relatively small, it’s still taxpayer money that should be spent on city services.

The $300,000 the city is borrowing is a large number for most of us, but it’s tiny in relation to the City of Natchez’s overall budget of more than $24 million.

Mathematically, it represents approximately 1.25 percent of the total budget.

Would it not be possible for the city to simply plan its budget more carefully, watch its monthly spending and simply cut out 1.5 percent of its spending, thus creating surplus cash that could be used to cover the cash-lean months?

Doing so would seem infinitely smarter than continuing to keep spending tax dollars to cover for poor planning.