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Jagger, city business take center stage

Published 12:05am Sunday, December 1, 2013

What an interesting couple of weeks in Natchez lately.

Lots of cool things and a few really important things happened, too.

In the cool column, Mick Jagger, the international rock and roll superstar, walked the streets, eating at local restaurants and occasionally being spotted by locals as he visited the set of “Get On Up!”

The film about the life of Godfather of Soul, James Brown, has been filming in Natchez. Its impact is being felt all over town as film crews staying in town have been making an economic impact on Natchez.

Hopefully, Jagger and others had a great time in Natchez and will return for either more filmmaking or perhaps just a little rest and relaxation.

For locals wondering if they would want to see the film when it’s released, they got a little extra incentive. Adams County Supervisor Mike Lazarus decided to take a break from his normal job as a T-shirt printer in order to work as an extra on the film. That in itself isn’t news. Lots of locals have been working as extras in the film.

What’s cool is that Lazarus apparently may have a close-up role in the film — assuming the scene isn’t cut from the final. Lazarus’ scene included having a gun pointed at him. His Hollywood debut should be good for some local laughs and good-natured ribbing.

But the week wasn’t all cool and interesting Hollywood moments. Some of the relatively boring, but important happenings, in the city still continue.

Unfortunately, the City of Natchez is apparently still struggling to pay for operations at the Natchez City Cemetery.

City aldermen debated whether or not to farm out the grass cutting to a contractor instead of handling it in-house.

In the end, the motion to privatize the cemetery’s grass cutting was defeated.

The mayor suggested he would explore the prices of farming out the services. Hopefully his work is made public. With all that was discussed — from privatizing to using inmate labor to handle the work — something must work to save the city some money.

As if the cemetery’s money woes weren’t enough, the city also needs to replace the two accountants it hired to help the city clerk’s office a year ago.

One accountant has already left and another has announced plans to do so.

With a salary of $45,000, qualified accountants are probably going to be in the position only for a short period of time before moving on to greener pastures.

Hopefully, the city will realize this likelihood before wasting a lot of time getting another round of accountants trained on the city systems, just in time for the departure cycle to repeat.

My dream of having the city and county join forces of basic accounting management continues.

The county leaders seem happy in their decision a few years ago to step up and pay a higher wage for a qualified county administrator.

Doesn’t it make sense that the city could benefit from seeking the county’s help in handling the basics of accounts payable, payroll processing and other routine accounting procedures?

Does a community our size need two separate accounting departments for its government office or would one work?

Like Mr. Jagger, I can’t get no satisfaction on the issue.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.