Every city has responsibilities that take precedence over other services; public safety and infrastructure are two of the most important. Jackson needs to focus exclusively on these challenges. Investing in other areas now will do little to move the city towards a better future.
“Concentration is the key to all economic success,” said well-known business leader Peter Drucker.
In the case of Jackson, concentration is the key to saving the city.
Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance said he needs more police officers. The number of officers on his team is far below budgeted goals and even if the department was fully staffed, that number is still woefully short of what the city needs to have a significant impact crime.
City Council’s top priority should be working with Chief Vance to give him the resources the department needs to address the serious crime issues in the city. To recruit those officers, the city needs to pay competitive wages and remove the policy that officers must live inside the city limits.
The second critical function; repairing streets, bridges, water and sewer systems. Again, it is critical the city concentrate on public safety and infrastructure. Golf courses, the zoo, libraries, parks, and anything that is a secondary function, that takes away financial resources, personnel and focus from those top priorities need to be placed on the back-burner.
When the crime is addressed and the infrastructure is fixed, then the city can begin redirecting funds and energy back towards other programs.
These are tough decisions and undoubtedly some people will be upset, but the positive results of fixing those two key issues will offset any negativity. The city is losing ground daily. It needs to take bold steps and make bold decisions. Jackson’s better days are fading fast in the rearview mirror.
Getting crime under control and fixing the infrastructure will help Jackson live up to its Bold New City claim.