Bad financial practices plague city

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 18, 2010

City of Natchez leaders need to buy a financial advice book and read it quickly.

They might be wise to pick up a copy of one of Dave Ramsey’s books, perhaps his bestseller “Total Money Makeover.”

The radio talk show host and author focuses on helping people change their bad financial habits.

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Ramsey is one of many financial experts who advise lots of people to simply cut up their credit cards. He’s quick to point out that credit cards, in the hands of a spender without discipline can get you in trouble — deep trouble.

It appears that advice is needed for the City of Natchez, too. But rather than a credit card, the city’s spending addiction is fueled by tax-anticipation loans that have been required in recent years to get through the fiscal year. Their need indicates poor planning and slow reaction on the part of those running the city.

Almost a year ago aldermen and the mayor vowed to end the practice and get the city’s finances straight.

They made a big issue of trimming expenses and opting not to lower their property tax millage, despite an increased property assessment, thus increasing taxes on residents.

Yet, now, as we near the end of this fiscal year, the city is facing the need to borrow money again just to make payroll.

We understand that sales taxes have been mostly down this year. That should have been predicted last year as the city formed its budget.

Appropriate measures should have been taken then to lower spending to a comfortable level.

It’s ridiculous that we’re yet again in such a poor financial position.

As Ramsey advises, “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”