Movie magic needed for commission?

Published 12:00am Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tentative plans to create a Natchez film commission seem logical on the surface, but need to be publicly fleshed out further before city funds are spent on the matter.

Mayor Butch Brown has wisely pointed out that under former Mayor Tony Byrne’s administration, the former film commission had a hand in bringing 13 productions to Natchez.

We think the idea of being more open and welcoming to film production makes a great deal of sense.

The most recent production of “Get On Up” wound up providing a number of positive benefits to the city’s economy. But remember, it came at the hands of a Mississippi director who loves his state and this part of the world, not because of any particular government agency.

Still, having someone focusing on recruiting film productions to the area is bound to increase the number of productions here, or at the very least, couldn’t hurt too badly.

While film production doesn’t provide the kind of steady, good-paying jobs that a large manufacturing industry might bring, the film industry is generally much less impacting on the local environment, too.

The challenge for the city, however, is how to justify funding for a paid leader of the commission — something Brown suggested was necessary — when the city has bigger fish to fry.

City streets still need attention, a number of public buildings are badly in need of repair and the city’s own accounting department struggles to keep track of city finances.

The public would be much more amenable to hiring additional employees on the city’s payroll if all of the other basics were in good order.

Until that’s done, trying to justify additional city spending may require some movie magic that we’d just as soon leave to the film pros.