Cemetery is City of Natchez’s responsibility

Published 1:49 am Thursday, May 25, 2017

Natchez aldermen should be ashamed for making the volunteers who operate the Natchez City Cemetery beg for money.

Aldermen last September chopped the city’s cemetery funding from $72,000 down to $40,000.

On Tuesday members of the Natchez City Cemetery Association came before the board of aldermen to request additional funding, citing a deficit of approximately $88,000.

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We agree with Alderman Dan Dillard who said asking volunteers to shoulder the maintenance cost of a city-owned property was unfair.

But what is ridiculous is that Natchez aldermen appear to be as blind as ever on when, where and how the city’s finances are being spent.

When the city first entered into a contract to lease city property at the foot of Roth Hill Road to a casino, the move was touted as allowing great things to come out of the proceeds.

What’s happened, however, is that the casino’s annual lease payment of a minimum of $1 million — it fluctuates with gaming revenue — has simply become a way to cover bloated spending elsewhere.

Meanwhile aldermen continue to receive their healthy paychecks for part-time jobs while cemetery volunteers fret over how to pay the bills and police and fire personnel are underpaid.

When will city leaders stand up and fiscally lead the city out of its current course? Consolidating resources — police, public works, accounting — with Adams County would be a great place to start.