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Byram mayor continuing push to buy out water contract with city of Jackson

Photo courtesy of City of Byram/Facebook

The city of Byram is continuing efforts to provide clean water for its residents, with Mayor Richard White pushing officials in Mississippi’s capital city to consider the $5 million offer to buy out its current water contract.

For decades, Byram has relied on Jackson to supply water for over 10,000 individuals located within the town, with the majority of residents experiencing the countless failures of the two water treatment plants along with those living in the capital city.

Since first taking the position as the mayor of Byram in 2013, White has repeatedly expressed his frustrations with Jackson’s ongoing water issues and how it has affected the residents and businesses in its neighboring communities.

In late February, White released plans to create several independent wells and one tank within Byram’s own city limits, stating that he has had little to no response from Jackson officials and interim third-party manager Ted Henifin about making repairs to leaks in the pipes.

“The main thing we’re doing right now is talking to a guy that knows, and he works for the engineering company that is going to locate the water for us,” White said. “We want to make sure we have good water and we’ll have an abundance of it, and we hope that we won’t have to put a bunch of chemicals in it.”

White then made an offer to Jackson officials in mid-March, explaining that the decision came as Byram has been subject to countless boil water notices throughout the years.

“Jackson was not committing to the future because they should have put wells down in our area. All they had to do is put them in and you wouldn’t have a fraction of the people being out of water anytime,” White stated. “I’m not saying anyone in particular, but they just let it sit.”

Since then, White has met with Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba in recent weeks about purchasing Byram’s section of the water system for $5 million, as well as sent a letter on September 8.

In the letter, White requested for Lumumba to consider Byram’s offer before the candidate qualifying deadline for the 2025 municipal election, stating that he believes it “remains a good goal for a ‘not to exceed’ date.

The letter also addressed the capital city’s goal to have its own appraisal or assessment done on the same lines and infrastructure in Byram before entering into negotiations.

“That is certainly an acceptable plan, and Byram looks forward to these continuing discussions between the two cities,” White added. “We would like to request that Jackson aim for that date for the completion of its appraisal – the end of 2023 – or suggest another date so that the parties may manage expectations.”

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