We want our leaders looking for every saving possible

Published 3:57 pm Wednesday, October 16, 2019

No one likes to pay taxes. No matter the tax you pay, whether it is a sales tax, a property tax, a fee for this or a fee for that, it all seems too much.

But, since we are required to pay taxes, we ask our leaders to spend that money wisely and effectively.

Supreme Court Associate Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes once called taxes, “the price we pay for civilized society.” It is for that reason that society, in this case, Vicksburg and Warren County, must scrutinize the way public funds — our taxes — are spent.

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When the Board of Mayor and Aldermen held a special, public meeting to review the 2020 budget, few people showed up and even fewer asked questions. When the Warren County Board of Supervisors were going over their budget, few questions were asked and few attended meetings where the budget was discussed.

If we are to regularly complain about what is being spent on what, then we cannot do so from the sidelines. We must participate, ask questions, scrutinize and expect answers.

This week, we learned the city of Vicksburg was considering a plan to upgrade lighting along city streets to LED. The move, which would be in partnership with Entergy Mississippi, would cost the city nearly $30,000.

But, in addition to improved lighting in areas where brighter lights are desperately needed, the conversion will save the city about $3,000 per month on its light bill.

It will take 10 months of savings for the city to recover the installation costs, and after that, the savings are real and will add up.

In a city where the budget is nearly $30 million, $3,000 per month is not a big deal. But this plan, and others the administration has made in previous years, is exactly what we want from our government leaders.

We want them to chase every penny of savings, every nickel in lost efficiency and every dime lost in the couch cushion.

If we are to pay taxes in Vicksburg and Warren County, knowing city leaders are chasing down the smallest of savings makes paying taxes somewhat less painful.