Study up on consolidation issues

Published 12:01 am Sunday, May 5, 2019

The issue of consolidation of city and county government operations has persisted in Natchez and Adams County for decades.

Consolidation of some governmental city and county services makes sense, to avoid duplication and make government more efficient.

The City of Natchez and Adams County have already combined some essential services such as tax collection, 911 emergency services and fire protection.

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Whether further consolidation and what types of consolidation would be efficient, however, is up in the air.

Should the City of Natchez and the Adams County boards merge into one board, as some have advocated? Is that even an option under state law? If not would it be worth changing state law to make such a decision? Do other options exist that would be more productive toward making local government more efficient?

Those are just a few of the questions that must be asked and answered before making decisions on further consolidation of local government. To that end, the City of Natchez has organized two public forums, one at 5 p.m. Tuesday and a second one at 5 p.m. May 21 at the Natchez Convention Center with an impartial panel of experts from the Stennis Institute for Government at Mississippi State University.

We encourage all residents to attend Tuesday’s forum to learn about our city’s form of government and the options that exist under state law.

Tuesday’s meeting will be an excellent primer before the May 21 forum that will explore the options of consolidation of government services and boards, based on what experts who study such issues have learned from experience.

We commend the City of Natchez for organizing the forums and thank the Stennis Institute and its staff for agreeing to conduct the forums to help citizens understand the issues and options on the table.

Only by being educated and properly informed can we make the right decisions about consolidation efforts going forward.