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Legislation transferring Jackson water system to the state dies following deadline

O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant (Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News)

A bill that would have transferred the city of Jackson’s water system to the state died following Wednesday’s deadline.

Senate Bill 2889, also referred to as the “Mississippi Capitol Region Utility Act,” was introduced by lawmakers as boil water notices continue throughout the state’s capital city.

The bill would have created a nine-member board composed of both city and state-appointed leaders to address the continual problems with Jackson’s drinking water, wastewater, and storm water systems, as well as provide “regulated rates which are just, reasonable, and provide an adequate amount of capital to keep such systems in good repair.”

At this time, Ted Henifin is serving as Jackson’s interim third-party manager for the water system. Henifin, who was appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District in late November, recently announced Jacobs Solutions as the operator in charge of maintaining the city’s water facilities for the next six months. The bill would have allowed the board to take over following Henifin’s tenure.

Although SB 2889 died on the calendar, House Bill 1168, which would require Jackson’s one percent infrastructure sales tax to be solely used on water and sewer needs, remains alive with less than a month remaining in the 2023 legislative session.

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