City cut public out of money matters

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cutting corners is rarely wise. Imagine the result if Thomas Jefferson had simply cut a few corners in penning the Declaration of Independence?

Perhaps he could have saved a few words by simply writing, &8220;British, get out and leave us alone.&8221;

In hindsight such a notion seems silly, even ludicrous, but that is exactly the same lack of logic Natchez aldermen recently showed by simply adopting last year&8217;s budget again for next year.

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The Board of Aldermen cited a lack of time to properly read and understand the budget. Baloney.

They simply didn&8217;t plan appropriately. None of the aldermen is new to the process; the time needed was no surprise.

By their actions, the board has effectively shortchanged the public&8217;s understanding of how their tax dollars will be spent and effectively stifled the public&8217;s opportunity to question the spending.

Was what they did illegal? No. Did it violate the spirit of the budgeting process? Absolutely.

Aldermen say they&8217;ll simply modify the budget throughout the year. That&8217;s disturbing because many residents simply don&8217;t have the time to attend each board meeting to &8220;wait and see&8221; if something of concern is discussed.

Having public budget hearings on a legitimate budget plan gives citizens a chance to offer input.

Sadly, Natchez alderman&8217;s current plan is to fly by the seat of their pants. If they truly have the taxpayers&8217; best interests at heart, the aldermen should quickly make a plan for the expected budget revisions needed for next year, publicize the plan and offer a chance for public input before approving it.

Thomas Jefferson was correct; all men are created equal, but all leaders are not.