JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - What a difference a week makes. Last week the state was covered in ice and snow and this week it feels like late spring.
The severe weather wreaked havoc on the highways, power lines and infrastructure - especially the water supply in Jackson.
In our commentaries, we have shared many, many times that the city needs to focus its attention on three primary areas of government responsibility.
First, get the crime under control and make Jackson a safer city. Second, fix the water, sewer and streets. Third, work to make sure Jackson schools are providing an excellent education to all the kids in the city.
We’ve also made clear that Jackson’s infrastructure decay didn’t happen overnight. It began to decline in the 80′s and 90′s and the maintenance was neglected. That’s why the cost to fix the problem has ballooned and the situation has only gotten worse.
To fix the problem now will take hundreds of millions of dollars… maybe a billion plus. The city can’t afford to go it alone.
The city needs to reach out for help and also accept help when it is offered, to make the city safe, fix the water, sewer, and streets, and improve the schools.
The Mayor and Council need to begin an aggressive lobbying effort, putting aside political partisanship, and joining forces with the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker to develop a strategy for the state to help the city.
They also need to quickly engage Congressman Thompson, Senator Wicker and Senator Hyde-Smith to secure federal support to repair the damage. It will take local, state, and federal resources to cure the disease.
Every week those three items should be at the top of the list before anything else is discussed or addressed; before funds are applied towards any non-critical items.
And Consider This: God probably won’t consult with city leaders on the timing of the next storm, but you can bet good money another ice storm will happen.
The work needs to start now to make sure when it does happen the city, its people and its businesses don’t find themselves in this critical situation again. Swallow your pride, work together, reach out for help, and focus your energy on fixing the critical needs of the city.