Water system in Mississippi’s Capital may get new house owners

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Jackson’s troubled water system may get a brand new set of homeowners below laws superior Tuesday by Republican lawmakers in Mississippi.

The invoice would switch possession to a brand new public entity overseen by a nine-member board, the vast majority of which might be appointed by state leaders. Republicans management each homes of the Mississippi Legislature, in addition to the governor’s mansion. Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, a Democrat, has mentioned he desires the town to take care of management of its water.

Laws despatched from committee to the total Mississippi Senate is the state’s newest response to a water crisis that has brought about repeated outages by which many within the metropolis of about 150,000 have gone days and weeks with out water to drink, prepare dinner, bathe or flush bathrooms. The issues have additionally heaped financial strain on companies.

“I’ve been in financial growth conferences this 12 months with individuals who have instructed me that they don’t perhaps need to come to Mississippi as a result of we don’t have any water right here,” mentioned Sen. David Parker, a Republican from Olive Department. “So whether or not we prefer it or not, we’ve bought an issue we have to act on right here.”

The bill, launched by Parker, would switch water, wastewater and storm water providers supplied by Jackson to a brand new public utility district’s “possession, administration and management” after an interim supervisor appointed by the U.S. Division of Justice to supervise the water system concludes his work.

The Justice Division appointed Ted Henifin, a former public works director from Virginia, because the interim supervisor after it won a federal judge’s approval to hold out a uncommon intervention. Henifin said he plans to leave his position in a single 12 months or much less, although the federal decide’s order would not require him to take action.

The proposed Mississippi Capitol Area Utility Authority could be established as soon as a majority of a nine-member board is appointed. It will assume possession of the water system when a federal courtroom terminates Henifin’s place.

4 appointments could be reserved for the Jackson mayor, however he could be required to “seek the advice of” with mayors of close by Byram and Ridgeland on two of these appointments. The governor would make three appointments to the board, and the lieutenant governor would make two. All 9 appointments would must be confirmed by the Republican-controlled state Senate.

Lumumba has mentioned up to now that he desires the town to take care of possession of the water system. A member of his workers mentioned he was unavailable to remark Tuesday.

Metropolis and state officers have clashed in the past over the creation of presidency boards which have exerted some management over how Jackson spends its tax income and cash raised from public bonds.


Michael Goldberg is a corps member for the Related Press/Report for America Statehouse Information Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points. Observe him on Twitter at twitter.com/mikergoldberg.

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