Tax increase not answer for city’s issue

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, January 13, 2015

City of Natchez leaders plan to discuss the city’s finances today and continue through Wednesday.

Simultaneous to the city finally receiving its past-due city audit, the city also plans to discuss raising sales tax on hotel and B&B stays along with restaurant and bar purchases.

The audit was delayed significantly because the outside auditor couldn’t make sense of the city’s atrocious records keeping.

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That should be a clue to city leaders that further spending — and raising taxes — should be delayed until the problems at the city clerk’s office are fixed.

Unfortunately the city seems to always be looking for a problem to solve by spending more money.

In this case the city wants to raise taxes, it says, to help pay the bond payments on the convention center — which will grow this year as part of a restructuring the city did a few years ago. The growth in payment should surprise no one who was in city government in 2012 when the last bond restructure was completed.

Former Mayor Jake Middleton said years ago that the $1 million lease payment from Magnolia Bluffs Casino would help cover the accelerating bond payment.

Of course, since Middleton said that, the city seems to have spent the casino payments on all sorts of things, except paying down debt.

We urge aldermen to consider carefully what they’re voting to do this week and not simply refinance the convention center again, further kicking the can down the road.