City should review its expenditures

Published 11:09 pm Saturday, March 7, 2009

Economics, like politics, has a way of being hyper-local. The economic problems don’t seem to have much an effect until it hits home.

The global recession is just starting to be felt in our backyard.

Our community’s local government is just beginning to brace for the unexpected — reduced tax receipts ahead.

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Whether we’re talking about the anticipated reduction in sales tax in Natchez or the reduced price of oil and its effects on Adams County’s portion of the oil and gas severance tax, the tax picture doesn’t look terribly rosy at the moment.

It’s not dire, at least not yet, but city and county leaders must rethink how they’re spending every dollar and must reconsider every long-standing practice.

Just because we’ve always done something, certainly doesn’t mean we always must — or should — continue the practice in the future.

In the City of Natchez, a few leaders have pointed to things such as city-provided cell phones and personal use of city-owned vehicles as options to be cut.

Those are good starts, but the city (and the county) would be wise to develop two budget lists.

The first list would be things we can (and should) cut immediately without much pain involved.

The second list should include more serious cuts that will likely impact some public services.

The real challenge will be transforming our community into one led by a leaner, meaner, more effective government while not lowering the standards for what’s acceptable in terms of quality of life for residents.