City is to blame for lack of planner

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 19, 2006

Heads were scratching in Natchez City Hall last week when the city&8217;s only real choice for the vacant city planner position said &8220;no thanks&8221; to the city&8217;s job offer.

On the surface, the &8220;no&8221; reply just doesn&8217;t make sense.

Why would someone in the business of municipal planning not fall in love with Natchez?

Email newsletter signup

The quality of life is good.

Cost of living is relatively low.

Residents deeply care about preservation and planning.

Professional rewards seem pretty good, too. Previous city planners have earned national acclaim from their work in Natchez.

Earlier this year, the city generously doled out more funds to the department, ballooning up the planning staff.

The salary range &8212; approximately $45,000 per year &8212; seems fair.

So why have we struggled to get someone to commit to the job?

Maybe it&8217;s a sketchy market, poor luck or bad timing.

Or perhaps it&8217;s our city&8217;s reputation, a reputation of late for just doing what its mayor and board of aldermen please &8212; citizens and city planners, be damned.

From the city&8217;s fiery attitude about the demolition of the pecan factory to giving themselves raises before giving police and firefighters their due, all are a reflection of the city, and from an outsider&8217;s perspective, a murky one at best.

First impressions are as fleeting and fragile as a dandelion in a stiff breeze. In an instant, they&8217;re both gone and can&8217;t be brought back.

Perhaps those fingers scratching scalp would find their mark more quickly if they were put into use retracing and rethinking the city&8217;s actions in recent months.