JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Governor Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) isn’t holding back after Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba made a statement this week that the city needs more financial help to fix its failing water system.
The city’s water system has been subject to several boil water notices recently due to high turbid levels at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant. The governor said the city already has enough funds to take care of the problem.
“The city of Jackson and Hinds County received in ARPA dollars, $90 million,” said Reeves.
The governor said the state has agreed to match what the city and county put toward fixing the water system, but he accused the city of not making its water system a top priority.
“They can only come up with about 25 percent of what they were given, and they spend everything else on other things,” he stated.
Lumumba said the governor’s statements are not accurate.
“The city of Jackson never received anywhere near $90 million,” he claimed.
The mayor said the city was only given around $44 million. He said what wasn’t used to fix the city’s water system was used for public safety.
“We have allocated more than 60 percent towards infrastructure matters, and 75 percent of our ARPA funds have gone both towards infrastructure and public safety matters,” Lumumba said.
Reeves also cited a lack of water facility workers. City Council President Ashby Foote, Ward 1, said he agrees on that point.
“We’ve got to have professionals that can provide operation and maintenance on an ongoing basis. We’ve got to provide clean running water, and right now, it’s not reliable enough for what our citizens expect,” Foote said.
Reeves also said he doesn’t trust the city to use additional funds from the state in an efficient manner, which is something Foote said should make leaders want to work harder to solve the issue.
“If we’re going to be effective and when the governor speaks out like that, we need to take that to heart a move forward and try to address the concern he has, because he’s speaking for a lot of Mississippians,” said Foote.
Lumumba said he is aware of the city’s poor water maintenance, and he is working to repair the issue but asks the community for patience.