Status quo getting us nowhere?

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Is Ward 3 Alderwoman Sarah Smith the lone person on the Natchez board of aldermen with clear vision and a good memory?

Although absent from last week’s meeting, Smith was a vocal opponent of raising city taxes and simultaneously spending more money at a time when the city remains in financial crisis.

The city has again passed a city budget that banks much on the hope that things will continue as they have and that puts a greater burden on what is arguably an ever-shrinking number of residents.

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Last week, on the day of the deadline, the city passed a budget for the next fiscal year but included in it a 4-mill tax increase for residents. The guise for the tax increase was to pay police and fire personnel better.

We agree with the need to pay our first responders better. However, the city should have been able to do that within its budget for years. Instead, aldermen have year after year continued to simply pass along last year’s budget with minor adjustments as a new budget without every actually digging in and working on ways to reduce city spending.

One of the handful of people who showed up at Friday’s public hearing on the budget asked aldermen two questions that prove the point.

First, the man asked the city how many vehicles the city owns. No one knew, which illustrates what happens when you spend other people’s money.

Second, the man asked, “What is the city doing to keep expenses down?”

Good question.

Earlier we saw how the majority of the aldermen avoided even considering switching health insurance providers that potentially could have saved the city serious money.

Instead, they stuck with the status quo. Unfortunately, that’s getting us nowhere, fast.