Jackson leaders call for one-cent sales tax for water issues

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Jackson leaders discussed ways to avoid another water crisis in the future. Council members said part of the answer may be a one-cent tax increase, but they want to make sure there is a plan in place.

“I think it’s something that’s needed. Let me be clear on that. But before people sign on to it, I think it’s important that we put together the One Percent Sales Tax Commission,” said Council President Aaron Banks. “We force them to have a plan so that there’s not a piece milling of projects that only happen in a certain area.”

Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba said the city could see an increase in funds to address water and sewer issues.

“From One Percent, we get about $13 to $15 million annually. By doubling that, we can expect to see another $13 to $15 million added to that,” the mayor stated.

The tax hike would be on top of the current one percent sales tax. Money from the tax has already gone to road and water system improvements.

“It’s been in inception since 2014, and we’ve collected about $100 million. We’ve spent a majority of those funds on road projects, and we’ve spent almost $20 million on water and sewer repairs from 2018,” said Public Works Director Dr. Charles Williams.

He said an additional penny would help fund the operation of the sewer system.

“Whether it’s staff or upgrades. And we need to dedicate to the distribution system so that we can minimize the number of breaks when we have these cold temperatures coming into the region,” said Williams.

The mayor said the main priority is making sure neighbors no longer have to suffer.

“Where we stand today everybody is that our residents are suffering. Our residents need us to fix our infrastructure, and we have to do everything we can to help them point blank period,” said Lumumba.

The new measure would have to be approved by the Mississippi Legislature. It would then go on the ballot to be voted on by Jackson neighbors.

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