Firm selected by Jackson’s RFP will get water system contract, city attorney says

Clarification comes as city, state issue dueling requests for management firm days apart
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 6:23 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - While the state of Mississippi and the city of Jackson are both looking for management companies to helm the city’s water system for the next twelve months, City Attorney Catoria Martin said the firm selected by Jackson’s request for proposals will be the one the city chooses and pays.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, with input from the state’s department of health and city officials, issued a request for qualifications last week.

Days later, the city of Jackson responded with its own request for proposals, an action Gov. Tate Reeves said means the city no longer needs the state’s assistance.

“The mayor has said through his actions - his actions speak a lot louder than words -- that the city is prepared to run the water system,” Reeves said Thursday.

Both seek essentially the same thing in their requests, though a request for qualifications concentrates on firms most qualified to do the work whereas RFPs typically look for the most cost-effective ones.

Only one will get a contract with the city, Martin said.

Martin said state law determines which one can go forward, and that the city has complied with all legal requirements thus far.

“The City of Jackson will continue to comply with all legal requirements in awarding an emergency contract that will be funded by the City of Jackson. The City of Jackson can legally only fund a contract for operations and maintenance as a result of a solicitation issued by the City of Jackson,” Martin said in a statement to WLBT.

That means the state’s request would not be valid at all, since it wasn’t issued purely by the city, but rather the state with added input from Jackson.

What this means for residents: the city will be in sole control of the process to ultimately select the vendor, without input from MSDH or the EPA.

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