Consider This: Jackson City Council – Do the Right Thing

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 10:09 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Now that the Jackson water system has been stabilized, it is time to look at the longer-term plan to manage and maintain the water treatment and distribution operation.

The smartest option would be for the Jackson City Council to approve turning over the system to the state, because the city has proven it is unable to manage the water operations.

Under the city’s oversight, the water system is losing millions of dollars.

Why would the city even want to control the operation when it is such a financial drain? If the system is managed by the state, the city could focus on the many other issues that need attention, starting with fully staffing the police department and working daily to create a safe city for Jackson families.

City leaders could also focus on fixing the potholes and crumbling streets.

Here’s one example: A pothole with purging water is located on South Jefferson Street near WLBT. It’s been like this for months. Drivers must veer into oncoming traffic to avoid damaging their vehicles.

We’ve called the city… we have sent emails… and so far, no action. This dangerous pothole is one of thousands across the city.

The city could address and clean up the hundreds of abandoned and blighted buildings and hold owners accountable for those unsafe properties. They could also redirect their energy to concentrate on recruiting businesses to create desperately needed jobs for Jacksonians.

Don’t be hoodwinked into believing the city will be able to operate the system correctly moving forward. And certainly, don’t believe it would be better if there is a consent decree, and the federal government takes over.

Do you really want a federal judge making the decisions on Jackson’s water system? Talk about a worst-case scenario.

Here’s the real question: Why does turning the water system over to the state have to be a bad thing?

Remember, the city is losing millions of dollars on water operations alone. The city is in such terrible shape financially, the last thing it needs is another money pit department.

It could be a great thing if the state took over.

Just look at what the state has done in a matter of weeks to address not only the O.B. Curtis plant, but also the J. H. Fewell facility. The state needs to oversee the water system so Jacksonians, Jackson businesses, capitol government buildings and every other community that depends on Jackson water, can have safe, reliable services.

They need to do it so we can get out the constant negative national media cycle that is putting our capital city and our state in a terrible, terrible light. The city and state can work out an agreement that would allow the water authority to oversee the operation, and the two entities could share in the profits.

Ultimately, it could not only provide Jacksonians with quality water, but it could also be financially beneficial to the city.

The seven Jackson City Council members need to do what they were elected to do, represent the people of Jackson. They need to stand united and vote to turn the water system over to the state. It is without a doubt the right thing to do.

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