City needs to fix planning problems

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2006

Late reports. Missed meetings. Incomplete information.

Natchez city department heads and members of the planning commission say those problems are forcing them to delay work on projects such as new businesses and new construction. Already, action on two new business ventures has been delayed.

The city&8217;s planning department originates most of the reports and the meeting notices that are causing the problems and the delays.

Email newsletter signup

While these may seem like only minor miscues, this is an important issue because of the number of people it affects &8212; both those inside city government who are trying to do their jobs and those in the community who are trying to get new projects under way.

But at its core, this is simply a personnel issue, and Natchez aldermen need to treat this issue as they would in any business.

Inexplicably, City Planner Andrew Smith refuses to comment on the problems, so understanding his explanations &8212; if he has them &8212; is downright impossible.

But as his bosses, the mayor and aldermen can question him &8212; and should demand answers.

Is the planning department simply overworked? At one time the department functioned with twice as much staff as it has now.

If so, Smith needs to request more help or figure out a way to get better organized to operate more efficiently.

Either way, aldermen need to get to the bottom of the problem before it affects any more city business or any more new projects.

Waiting until the problems result in a lost business opportunity is too late. Getting the situation fixed needs to be done now. No excuses.