At least one part of budget smells

Published 12:06 am Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hats off to the Adams County Board of Supervisors for having the nose to smell something fishy in the county’s budget.

Supervisors wisely spotted something that apparently has been a long-standing trend — county government subsidizes county garbage collection.

Supervisor Mike Lazarus brought up the fact Monday as supervisors mulled the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

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Lazarus pointed out that the county pays $16.34 per month per household for garbage collection, but only charges citizens $13 for the service.

While that sounds like peanuts, that peanuts pile becomes elephant-sized when it’s applied to the 5,300 households serviced outside the city limits of Natchez for 12 months a year.

The county’s garbage welfare program accounts for approximately $212,000 annually.

Since Natchez city residents also pay county property tax, it would seem city residents are, at least in part, footing the bill for county garbage subsidy.

Anytime the subject of garbage collection rates or service is brought up, a handful of county residents will squawk and fuss. Regardless of their clamor, it only makes sense that residents should pay for the services they receive.

We think the $212,000 in garbage subsidy — paid with taxpayer dollars — could be better used elsewhere.

Had we stopped this practice a few years ago, we’d have likely already had enough money saved up to pay for a recreation complex, a new county jail and, perhaps, our bond rating wouldn’t have been cut.

It’s time to clean up the budget and remove all of the smelly pieces — starting with the garbage subsidy.