City, county need to restructure

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 1, 2016

Leaders of Natchez and Adams County governments are wrestling with similar budget issues. The same dance occurs practically year after year.

Each budget season the city and county governments struggle to figure out how to do the same jobs with less money.

This week, as Natchez aldermen continued to work the city’s budget, Alderwoman Sarah Smith suggested the city would soon need to consider raising taxes if something in the budget does not change. Smith is correct, but the key is for leaders to look at the bloated structures of the city and county and streamline things.

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We urge city and county leaders to realize both entities are in the same boat, and working together could potentially save substantial amounts of money.

The elephant in the room is that Natchez-Adams County has seen its population shrink. Less people means less taxing resources, yet the city and county governments continue to operate duplicative services and largely remain staffed as they were years ago.

The solution is simple. Let’s consider starting over from scratch. If we were build a new government from scratch what would it look like?

No one can say for certain without investing in some third-party, expert research, but suffice to say a single, streamlined government is probably best.

How much could a combined city and county save by combing law enforcement forces, clerical and payroll functions, road and maintenance crews and more?

As city leaders nibble at savings to be had by cutting money going to the city cemetery — which is a bad idea — let’s look at much larger, much more structural changes that could truly make an impact on our community’s future.

We are in charge of our destiny, but only if we have the courage to grab the wheel and take control.