Public forums on efficient government, consolidation proposed

Published 12:10 am Sunday, November 11, 2018


NATCHEZ — Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell has asked aldermen to consider approving a series of forums on “Greater Efficiency in Local Government” at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

In a Friday memorandum to the board of aldermen, Grennell proposed the series of public forums at a cost of no more than $13,000.

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“Recently, the Board of Aldermen requested that we seek information from the Stennis Institute on greater efficiencies in local government, including increased consolidation of services with the county,” Grennell wrote in the memorandum. “Alderwoman Sarah Smith and I pursued this with Dallas Breen, executive director of the Stennis Institute, and his team.

“Although increased consolidation of services should be possible there is no single ‘silver bullet’ solution to achieving greater efficiency in local government. In addition, a consolidation study costs between $75,000 and $100,000. Launching a full-blown study is not the recommended step.”

The memorandum said that instead of a full-blown study, the Stennis Institute recommends the city present a series of public forums to “investigate a range of solutions” to build consensus and improve the operation of municipal government.

Attached to the letter is a three-page summary of proposals for the series of public forums that would kick off in January.

“On Tuesday, Nov. 13, at our regular board of aldermen meeting, let’s join together and move forward with this important initiative for our community,” Grennell wrote.

The memorandum said the series of forums would come at a cost of no more than $13,000, and the forums would be held every two to three weeks from late January through spring.

The bulk of the cost, the memorandum states, would be for travel, meals and accommodations for guest speakers for presenters from the John C. Stennis Institute and three additional experts who would take part in a panel discussion.

Reduced costs could come through donations for accommodations and meals, the letter states.

Here is a summary of the proposed forums outlined in the memorandum:

4The first meeting would be an introduction to the forms of city government and a discussion on the options for Natchez and Adams County with Stennis Institute speakers Dallas Breen, David Parrish and Edward French.4 The second meeting would include an outside panel of a lawyer, city administrator and county administrator who would field a question-and-answer session regarding services and concepts for consolidating services.

4The third meeting would be a discussion on the process of changing governmental forms, a study on consolidating services, and a look at full consolidation and dissolution.

4The final meeting of the series would be a wrap-up discussion that would include participation from the board of aldermen and the county supervisors.