It is time to say: ‘Show me the money’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 16, 2010

Apparently, at least several Natchez aldermen recently came to their senses or, perhaps, watched the film “Jerry Maguire.”

Aldermen voted Tuesday to seek professional advice to vet the finances of Natchez Enterprises, the group that hopes to launch the city’s second casino on city-owned, riverfront property.

The group’s finances have been brought into question after the development appears to have stalled in recent months.

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The aldermen’s move is a wise one. Seeking details on the financial wherewithal of the would-be casino developers who control the city’s property at the foot of Roth Hill Road should have been done years ago.

The previous Board of Aldermen should have confirmed the group’s financing prior to signing off on the 50-year lease of the city’s property.

Hindsight, of course, is always 20-20, and we are happy that the current board appears to be intent on righting the past wrongs.

Determining the financial viability of the project should have been one of the first steps in the city’s courtship with the developers.

Going forward, we hope the city’s elected leaders will learn from this and turn over the responsibility for this and future developments to the professional developers at Natchez Inc. Doing so would be wise use of taxpayer money.

The city already partially funds Natchez Inc. and thus already invests in hiring professionals who understand economic development and know how to ensure players come to the table with sound financial backing.

In the meantime, we’re glad the aldermen are now repeating the line from “Jerry Maguire” — “Show me the money!”