Natchez lacking in effective leadership

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, October 30, 2019

To the editor:

Fellow Natchezians; We have reached a crossroad in Natchez, a very dangerous, unmarked and dimly lit crossroad. Why is this crossroad so dangerous? Simply put poor leadership from some members of the Board of Alderman. Let’s look at just a few of this year’s decisions:

Micro-management of the YMCA and the city clerk caused both to resign and leave Natchez.

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Some members of the board overthrew the city planner’s decision on a proposed B&B (based on lack of parking, which I would guess is city code). Again micro- management.

Some members of the board wanted to borrow $750,000.00 to finish the North Natchez Road Project because “it’s time to get it completed” Thankfully, someone convinced the members of the board to include that project in this year’s budget.

At least one member of the board wanted to forgo repairing the leaking city hall roof and freeze police/fire personnel hiring to offset health insurance payments. (As someone who is self-employed I can assure you $1,200/year for health insurance is a bargain). Again, thankfully someone convinced the members of the board to implement the premium increase.

At least one member of the board has twice attempted to override state-installed legislation, the latest being an attempt to pull funding from Natchez Inc. This is what used to be called “fiscally irresponsible.”

The Board of Alderman and the Board of Supervisors opted to heat and cover our new pool, which has not been able to maintain a swim time schedule due to lack of trained personnel.

Seems like you would fix the personnel problem and then complete the other project.

We discovered this week that a large number of citizens are not paying for garbage pickup, $2.5 million or so. I’m guessing delinquent court costs and fines are soaring as well. All much needed revenue.

So how does this portray Natchez? Pretty negatively. It’s no secret Natchez is suffering from an alarming decline in population and as a result of that and even more alarming decline in revenue and taxes. There are supposedly more than 500 houses for sale in Natchez. Why are these family’s leaving? No jobs, failing infrastructure, are two (but not all) of the reasons. Industries due a lot of due diligence before locating to an area, and what they are seeing from some of the decisions and actions of the board is not positive. Therefore they are not coming to Natchez

There is a Hal Ketchum song with the following lyrics: “Lucy you know the world must be flat cause when people leave here they never come back, drive 90 miles an hour to the city limits sign, put the metal to the pedal fore they change their mind.”

That is a pretty accurate description of what is happening to our town, but it can be changed with the right leadership.

Quite frankly the board needs to reevaluate themselves, Check their egos and attempt to right this sinking ship.

Richard Prescott