Even gift horses require maintenance

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Somewhere in the back of our minds, we’ve all wondered what it must be like to get that life-changing call, the one in which you’re informed something very valuable has just fallen into your lap.

It might go something like this:

“You’ve won a prize worth millions of dollars, absolutely free of charge,” the caller tells you.

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“No way! I’ve never won anything in my life!” you say. “This is great.”

“All you have to do is agree to a few small stipulations, before we can give you the prize,” the prize giver says.

“Sure, sure, absolutely, I’ll do anything.”

“First, you can never sell it and you must take great care to maintain it, or its value will diminish quickly.”

“Absolutely, sign me up.”

“Lastly, there’s an issue about the maintenance. You must agree to maintain it, and it costs $250,000 to maintain it properly,” the caller tells you.

“Whoa, let me think this through. So the million-dollar prize will cost me $250,000 more each year, just to maintain it? I don’t have that kind of money.”

Even in the hypothetical euphoria of having just won a million-dollar prize, it doesn’t take long to realize the real cost of something can be far greater than its face value might suggest.

The City of Natchez is working to secure another $2 million in grant funding to help build a riverside park, and we’re thrilled, absolutely thrilled that the city is working to develop its greatest asset.

But just like our hypothetical prizewinner, the city must make a reasonable plan for properly maintaining any additional infrastructure to the city.

If they don’t, citizens may find additional taxes may be ahead.