The Jackson City Council has voted to approve using the remaining American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds on resolving the city’s water and sewage issues.
On Thursday, the council voted unanimously to spend an estimated $27 million to $34 million in funding on the O.B. Curtis Water Plant and additional infrastructure related to the distribution system.
The decision comes after several officials have pressed for the capital city to use its own funds to provide a long-term solution to Jackson’s water crisis, specifically the remaining ARPA funds. According to officials such as Governor Tate Reeves, using the ARPA dollars would give the city more funding as the state’s grant program would provide a dollar-for-dollar match for any improvements. This means that Jackson would have anywhere from $54 million to $70 million total to fix the city’s water.
“I think, certainly, that our administration wants to work with the city and make sure we prioritize whatever funding they have that they can match dollar-to-dollar, that we prioritize that on these projects that are being worked on at the plant and throughout to get the best bang for their buck,” Reeves said during a press conference Wednesday.
In late August, Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann was one of the first officials to propose the city use the remaining ARPA funds to repair the failing water system, saying that the state’s fund-matching grant was one of the most viable solutions.
“If they apply their full $42 million, then we will match $42 million and that money has been appropriated by the legislature, so they’ve got $84 million,” Hosemann explained over a week ago. “Hinds County got $45 million, so if they put their money into water and sewer, we will match them $45 million more. That’s $175 million that we can put into Jackson water, and that money is available today.”
The application process for the city to have its ARPA funds matched by the state opened on September 1.
Now, Jackson’s city council is planning to find the exact amount of ARPA money that remains before applying for the state’s dollar-to-dollar match grant.