Jackson Zoo settlement to be finalized next Tuesday

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV)- The end of the debacle between the City of Jackson and the Jackson Zoological Society is near.

Lawyers from both parties have come up with a settlement.

This settlement will be proposed and finalized at this coming Tuesday’s city council meeting.

The Zoological Society’s Attorney Dennis Horn explained the terms.

“The city was seeking about $6.35 million in damages for a $6 million water bill and an alleged 350 thousand misappropriation of funds,” Horn said. “The city has dismissed those claims.”

Horn said if this proposal is approved, the Zoological Society’s employees will continue to care for the animals, though animals have been assigned to the city for the time being.

Generally speaking, Zoological Society President Alexander Chess said he is satisfied with the outcome.

“We believe that the staff that’s remaining out there at the zoo will serve the animals,” Chess said. “We all agree — we think it’s gonna turn out fine.”

There is one thing the settlement does not change — the status of Zoo employees.

“The city did not agree to provide fresh benefits such as worker’s comp, health benefits, those kinds of things,” Horn said.

The city’s license on the zoo is still pending, meaning the zoo will remain closed to the public until further notice.

Horn is encouraging the people of Jackson to reach out to city officials encouraging them to set up a contract with an operator as quickly as possible so that it can be reopened to the public.

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