JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba hosted a town hall in South Jackson to give neighbors an update on the water crisis. This comes as the city has been awarded nearly $800 million in federal dollars through an omnibus bill that passed at the end of 2022.
“Even with the funding, there is no way possible that our system will be corrected. Even with the money, there’s a lot of construction that needs to take place,” he said.
When it comes to construction, the mayor said officials will have to plan strategically since many of the pipes are under roadways. The city’s third-party administrator, who will be in charge of these plans, did not attend the meeting, which upset several neighbors.
“Ted does not live in Jackson. He does not live in Mississippi. He has been here frequently, but at this time, he had to tend to matters back in Virginia, where he’s from. I do imagine he’ll be at future meetings,” the mayor said.
Raw sewage leaks were another major issue brought up at the town hall.
Someone also questioned the one percent tax and asked why that money hasn’t been put toward fixing water infrastructure issues.
“With that one percent, there were decisions made not to deal with water. There were decisions made before I even got there by the commission not to deal with wastewater. That has been put in the master plan. Yes, the money has been spent and that has largely been on roadwork,” Lumumba said.
The mayor said a firm is working for free on a model of the water distribution system, but he said the next steps of fixing the water infrastructure are still in the planning phases. Lumumba said he will continue to host town hall meeting throughout the process.