Consolidation always good idea for area

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Adams County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved seeking bids for a new fire truck, part of its agreement with the Natchez Fire Department to provide fire protection services to county residents.

Seeking other ways to share in providing municipal services to residents only makes good sense for the City of Natchez and Adams County.

As part of its fire agreement, county residents benefit from the protection of a full-time, professional fire department.

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Perhaps next, the city and county should look at ways the two can team up to provide law enforcement protection.

At present, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office answers calls from City of Natchez residents, just as they do from county residents, meaning two agencies — the City of Natchez Police Department and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office overlap in the services they provide using taxpayer dollars.

In August, Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield requested an increase in his agency’s budget to fund the hiring of additional deputies, citing an increase in the volume of calls his agency was getting from within the City of Natchez.

Since the City of Natchez provides fire protection in the city and county, maybe the Adams County Sheriff’s Office could take the lead in providing police protection in the county and city.

Citizens here cannot and should not be expected to continue to pay for overlapping law enforcement services that easily could be provided by one of those agencies. The sheriff’s office is best equipped to handle law enforcement calls in the county and city since its jurisdiction covers the entire county, including the city of Natchez.

Public works is another area the city and county should seek ways to consolidate services.

The time to find ways to more efficiently use taxpayer dollars is long overdue. We need city and county elected officials to step up and lead the way on consolidation of services.