JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba held a community meeting Tuesday night to talk about his plans to fix issues at the O.B. Curtis Treatment Facility.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Lumumba opened the floor for questions after he and the city’s chief financial officer discussed the water crisis, and the funds needed to end it.
“We moved to Jackson in 1988. I was about five years old. I remember in 1989, a big freeze that came over debilitated our water system. I remember being without water for some time. Some of you, I’ve heard talk further back than that,” said Lumumba.
The mayor said nearly all of the previous mayors within the last 30 years have been asking for money to fix this issue. During the meeting, the mayor outlined some of his plan to address the water infrastructure issues, including exploring the possibility of building a new water plant.
The mayor emphasized that he is against a state takeover and against privatization of the city’s water system.
“You don’t want your people reaching for a solution that takes them from one state of misery to the next. Our goal is to not only have a reliable water treatment distribution system, but to have a sustainable and an equitable one as well,” said Lumumba.
One of the biggest issues at O.B. Curtis is the lack of staffing. The mayor said local students should be more informed about working at O.B. Curtis. In order to immediately address that issue, there have been ongoing negotiations for third party operations and maintenance.
Overall, leaders said it will take money that the city simply does not have to fix all of the water infrastructure issues. Lumumba said the city has applied for grants through the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the federal government.
The mayor also thanked Governor Tate Reeves for submitting the city’s request to ask the U.S. Small Business Administration for assistance to local businesses that have been impacted by the water crisis. He said the city also send a letter to him about possibly getting relief for residents.