Maybe city should stop spending

Published 12:03 am Friday, December 18, 2015

Natchez aldermen this week questioned more than $250,000 in invoices that were plopped in their collective laps for city projects.

The invoices could not come at a worse time for the city — just before property tax receipts are typically received.

Aldermen Dan Dillard and Mark Fortenbery seemed to be the most vocal about the matter.

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The funds — $105,000 for renovations on the depot project and $150,000 for Natchez Trails work — apparently were not on the financial radar of aldermen.

Earlier this quarter, the city has had to borrow money — in the form of interfund transfers as well as tax-anticipation loans — to meet its financial obligations.

So having another $250,000 in expenditures drop from the sky is the last thing the city needs. To be fair, the majority of those funds will be reimbursed by grant money later, but the cash needed by the city is immediate.

“It has to be understood … that right now the administration is overspending and under-managing financial affairs,” Dillard said at Tuesday’s aldermen meeting.

Dillard’s frustration appears to be well founded.

The city is still trying to grapple with its finances. City leaders have blamed the trouble on all sorts of things — city clerk, a conversion to a new computer system, the loss of key employees in the city clerk’s office, etc.

But at the end of the day, the public doesn’t want blame; they want solutions. The solution here may be simply stop spending money on new projects until the city can consistently keep track of the money it has.