City should make EDA decision soon

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 17, 2005

While the EDA is trying to look to the future and hire a top-notch director, its future funding could be in jeopardy.

Natchez Mayor Phillip West said again this week it will take the city 10 days or so to come to a decision on how to fund the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority.

The city’s indecision on this issue is irresponsible. This is a time when our community needs jobs more than just about anything, and leaving the EDA on hold puts the future of economic development in this community on hold.

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Some aldermen argue the EDA needs to concentrate more on community development &045; but they have not defined in detail what &uot;community development&uot; is.

EDA officials, meanwhile, said they are open to working with the city but need more specifics.

We would all like to see more community development &045; improved housing and infrastructure, for example. But money for community development isn’t going to come into the city’s coffers unless we continue to build our economy &045; exactly what the EDA is setting out to do.

What’s more, if the city chooses to fund the EDA, that money cannot come with strings attached, according to the legislation that funded the EDA.

The city does not have to fund the EDA. There is no provision guaranteeing the city’s financial contribution.

How can aldermen afford not to fund the agency designed to create jobs in our community?

A study out just this week reviewing child welfare statistics focuses much of its attention on the problems of children who live in families where no adult works full-time, year-round. Mississippi ranks next to last in the nation in that category.

The city needs to fully fund the EDA. It needs to fund efforts toward job creation and industrial recruitment.

Our community is depending upon their decision &045; and they need to make it soon.