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City’s loan more than drop in bucket

Despite earning an extra $1 million this year from the new casino, the City of Natchez still found itself last week in what amounts to the payday loan line.

Natchez announced plans to borrow up to $600,000 to help ensure the city could make its payroll obligations for the next few months until tax payments begin to trickle in early next year.

We’ve expressed our displeasure at this in the past and continue to feel this is poor planning on the part of the city’s financial leadership.

This year the excuse is that the city is transitioning to a new health care insurance plan and thus its costs are higher.

Since the opening of Natchez’s second casino late last year, we’ve urged city leaders to take the $1 million annual lease payment the casino pays for use of the city-owned riverfront property and put that money aside to handle such bumps in the road as the health insurance issue.

Instead, the money was mostly spent before the first check had even hit the city’s bank account.

In the grand scheme of things, the tax-anticipation loan will probably cost the city a few thousand dollars in interest and bank fees. That’s a drop in the bucket of the total public dollars the city spends.

But when taxpayers own the bucket and pump the water, shouldn’t every drop be treated with great care?