Do we really need consultants?

Published 12:12 am Friday, September 28, 2018

Natchez leaders recently voted to pursue finding a funding source for a $1.5 million project to replace all the light fixtures in the city of Natchez for $1.5 million with an outside firm heading up the project.

The out-of-town consultants will, no doubt, make a profit from the venture.

The theory of the project is that the energy savings gained from use of the more modern, less electricity-hogging fixtures and bulbs could pay for the cost of the upgrades over time.

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We applaud the city for looking for ways to become more energy efficient and modernize city buildings.

But we question the need the city has on using consultants for many projects that seem in the scope of what the city could handle itself.

Consultants are great for things that require a level of expertise that is beyond the scope of city leaders or local know-how.

Things like redistricting plans or bond refinancing come to mind.

But changing out light fixtures and bulbs is something virtually every local electrician could handle, if the city simply took it upon themselves to engage in the work themselves.

If, as the consultants suggest the electricity savings and energy rebates are sufficient to fund the project over time, why couldn’t the city simply manage the project themselves, with the help of locals who would keep the profits here?

This horse may have left the proverbial barn, as it were, but we urge city leaders to think next time about where a good idea brought to them by a consultant actually requires outside help to handle.