Another consultant not needed by city

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 8, 2017

Leaders in the City of Natchez are wise to have interest in improving the retail offerings of the city.

That is, after all, one of the ways the city generates revenue, through sales tax.

But the presentation given earlier this week by a consulting group that seeks to help the city attract more retail business is seeking to solve the problem from the wrong direction.

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Rather than recruiting retail businesses, trying to convince those businesses to invest into an area with a shrinking population, the city, county and the business community needs to be working together to recruit jobs.

Causing more jobs to locate here is the single most important thing we must solve as a community.

Additional job opportunities here will stabilize, and then grow our population. That, in turn, will generate more retail sales and ultimately attract additional retail investment.

Throwing money at another consultant is not wise.

If the city has a spare $30,000 lying around, that money would be far better spent dedicating it to Natchez’s Inc.’s efforts to turn the falling economic tide in the community.

Natchez’s people are smart and resilient, but we need to work quickly to stand out in a highly competitive economic development climate to attract attention of investors and turn that attention into jobs.

Doing so will not be easy, but the longer we wait, the longer we hope to find a consultant in possession of the latest set of magic beans and the more difficult the real work required will become.