Officials, think out of box when budgeting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Thursday, the Natchez-Adams School Board passed a budget asking the county for more than $9.2 million to come from a proposed 26 percent tax increase.

School Board Chairman Norris Edney has pledged the district will continue to search for cost cutting ways before the budget goes before the supervisors on Aug. 15.

Adams County faces a lean fiscal year ahead, with the $700,000 to $800,000 shortfall anticipated.

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And the City of Natchez will soon start in earnest the process of formulating its budget for 2004-05 &045;&045; a fiscal year that, with plant closings in recent years and nationwide economic woes, is shaping up to be tight.

Citizens must realize that some areas of school operations cannot easily be trimmed &045;&045; for example, teacher numbers, since a certain teacher-student ratio must be maintained.

Many costs &045;&045; for both schools and local governments, as for agencies and businesses &045;&045; are also on the rise. Insurance and utility rates are just two examples.

At the same time, local officials must never lose sight of the fact that the revenue on which they depend comes from the citizens they have pledged to serve, citizens for whom making a buck has become increasingly difficult.

With that in mind, we implore those officials to leave no stone unturned in seeking new ideas to cut expenses to the bone without impacting the quality of public services.

And when and if services must be affected, we believe our public servants must use every possible avenue to gain public input &045;&045; over and above the hearings required by law.

They must let citizens know why reductions in services &045;&045; or tax increases, if needed &045;&045; are necessary.

Innovation and communication, in this and every budget year, are essential.