Don’t spend it just because you have it

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Isn’t it interesting how money tends to burn holes in pockets, particularly when that money doesn’t belong to the pockets’ owners?

Last week, Natchez city aldermen heard a request from the city’s tourism department asking for permission to raise the pay for five employees at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.

The city has been under a hiring and pay freeze since October, when the new budget year began.

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Whether or not the Natchez Convention Promotion Commission even had to ask the city for permission to grant the raises wasn’t clear, since the group, in a way, operates somewhat independently of the city.

We’re glad the tourism folks asked, though, because it raised awareness of what was about to happen.

The rationale provided for by the CPC officials to justify the change in the approved budget — which comes only two months into the new fiscal year — is a purported budget surplus.

The raises will total $31,000, and the surplus is projected to be $35,000. Those figures would seem to provide only a slim margin for error.

Perhaps the CPC provided more information to the board of aldermen than was made public in last Tuesday’s meeting. However, based on what we know, we feel asking for pay raises — while the rest of the city’s employees including fire and police personnel are frozen — isn’t wise, or prudent.