Leaders must be diligent with budget

Published 12:07 am Friday, August 5, 2011

We hope the Natchez aldermen, mayor and city clerk have their calculators, scratch paper, pencils and math hats ready.

It’s budget season, and City Clerk Donnie Holloway says it only takes a quick glance to see that the city’s department heads are asking for more than the board can likely give.

It’s easy to say the board needs to make cuts, and we don’t disagree with that.

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But the board must carefully consider what it cuts.

The taxpayers of this city deserve — and have paid for — certain services.

High on that list this time of year is grass cutting and basic city maintenance.

Too many areas of our city are just plain ugly right now.

Citizens also deserve well-maintained roads, police and fire protection and offices staffed with city employees who are ready to serve them.

So cuts must come carefully.

The only fair way for Natchez residents to get the best bang for their buck is for the men and women we’ve elected to go through the existing budgets with a fine-toothed comb.

Every expense needs to be looked at, every department examined.

Further, managing the budget means managing the people hired to lead the departments that spend the money. Are those department heads spending money wisely? Do we know what they are doing?

It’s no easy task. But if our elected leaders do it well, the people will reward them with re-election and continued taxpayer-funded paychecks.