WJTV News Channel 12 - Water Worries: Mayor Lumumba Pushes Sales Tax Increase

Although $400 million has been the goal amount of money to raise, officials at a public meeting say that's the minimum.

Water Worries: Mayor Lumumba Pushes Sales Tax Increase

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Monday's most recent break, happening around 5 p.m. on Eastover Drive in Jackson. Mayor Chokwe Lumumba (D) is pushing for a sales tax increase to overhaul the water system. Monday's most recent break, happening around 5 p.m. on Eastover Drive in Jackson. Mayor Chokwe Lumumba (D) is pushing for a sales tax increase to overhaul the water system.
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba (D-Jackson) is starting his campaign pushing for a 1% sales tax increase to improve the water system. The election is scheduled for January 14. Mayor Chokwe Lumumba (D-Jackson) is starting his campaign pushing for a 1% sales tax increase to improve the water system. The election is scheduled for January 14.
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba's Public Works team shows off a century old pipe - and its damage. The EPA is requiring the city to spend $400 million on upgrades. Mayor Chokwe Lumumba's Public Works team shows off a century old pipe - and its damage. The EPA is requiring the city to spend $400 million on upgrades.
Jackson's Public Works teams is working on the system overhaul - saying a complete fix could cost around $900 million dollars over a couple decades. Jackson's Public Works teams is working on the system overhaul - saying a complete fix could cost around $900 million dollars over a couple decades.

At least a dozen sections of the city of Jackson were under a boil water notice on Monday.

The city of Jackson issued precautionary boil water notices for the following areas:

  • Seneca Avenue
  • Pine Tree Drive
  • Shady Pine Lane
  • Parkside Place
  • Duncan Avenue
  • River Thames Drive
  • Magna Carta Place
  • Cooper Road
  • Holland Avenue
  • Moss Avenue
  • Willing Avenue
  • Englewood Drive
  • East Northside Drive
  • Swan Ridge Road.

Mayor Chokwe Lumumba (D-Jackson) admitted during a public meeting at Anderson UMC South that the problem is worse this year than last - slightly.

Click here to read WJTV's last related story: Water Main Break on MS 25 in Hinds County

Mayor Lumumba has been pushing for an overhaul of the city's water system. The purpose of Monday meeting was to join with community leaders - asking them to talk to neighbors about a 1% sales tax increase to help cover a $400 million construction bill.

Water rates in the city have already gone up and over a 17-year period that increase is expected to bring in about $370 million.

That means the city is short on money it needs to pay for upgrades mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"We also have a water system, a water delivery system, and every day you hear about boil water notices," Mayor Lumumba said.

"As a city councilman I constantly heard about it. I constantly hear about it now. We can keep going out there, sending public works to dig a hole... or we can fix the problem," Mayor Lumumba said.

With his public works team, Mayor Lumumba laid out the plan to replace century-old pipes in the city.

Although $400 million has been the goal amount of money to raise, officials at a public meeting say that's the minimum.

The mayor's analysts say a total fix to the problem - replacing pipes, restoring roads, and correcting ditches -could cost about $900 million.

A 1% sales tax would help the city correct what's been called long-delayed repairs, the mayor said.

He does not want to place blame on previous administrations. He plainly says the problem just needs to be addressed immediately.

"Really the truth of the matter is we've been hearing about those [breaks] for years. Are they increasing? slightly," Mayor Lumumba said.

The referendum on the sales tax is scheduled for January 14. Mayor Lumumba said he's starting to campaign for that.

Sales tax money would go through a commission made-up of Chamber of Commerce members and city appointed picks. Ultimately, the city council would have control over how the money is spent.

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