12 News Investigates: Former Mayor Yarber on Jackson’s water crisis

12 News Investigates

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – In 2017, Jackson was met with pipe problems. The city had to repair a 48 inch pipe in Northwest Jackson.

“When we had to fix the big water main out on 220, and it was a situation where we had to shut the city down for about a period of about 72 hours. It was really challenging, but we saw people pull together during that time and make things happen for us,” said former Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber.

He said during his time as mayor from 2014 to 2017, there were troubles with not only the underground piping, but issues with the distribution systems at times, the plant itself and lead leaching. In 2017, he played a role in an opportunity with the state.

“They would become contributors to the city’s infrastructure through the Capitol Complex, a bill that was passed. So the city should be getting about $11 to $13 million per year of work being invested in the city based on that,” said Yarber.

He said fixing the infrastructure will take time because after years, the problems have exacerbated.

“There was no investment in the 1980s, the 1970s into infrastructure, and so what you see is the cascading effecting on the city’s leadership and the city’s coffers.”

In 2014 as mayor, Tony Yarber created an infrastructure plan and secured federal funding for State Street and West County Line Road projects. He said the city leadership has to take a real lead on how they’ll reach out to state and federal resources and work together.

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