JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On Thursday, the mayor’s State of the City address, which he prerecorded, was focused on a few major issues in Jackson like crime, water woes and development.
Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba delivered his State of the City address with this year’s theme being “Jackson Strong” in honor of the resilience of the people. One of his big talking points was water. The mayor called the Siemens contract a disaster and said his administration’s settlement with the company is now moving toward a consistent billing system. He said even with proper billing, the city still needs state funding to fix its aging water infrastructure.
“We have also suffered from a historic exodus of our tax base, which has limited the total amount of revenue the city collects and has at its disposal. In the meantime, we have been investing every available penny into this system,” he said.
The mayor also thanked the fire department for their work getting clean drinking water to neighbors during times of crisis and said plans are in the works to get raises for them. When it comes to crime crisis, although backlog from the pandemic has put a strain on the city’s criminal justice system, he said the city is back on track now.
“We continue to make strides with our police department. Whether by increasing our officers with multiple recruiting classes, increasing the pay of our officers to increase retention and improvement or by investing in a city-wide network in our real-time command center,” he said.
Planning and development was another major topic. Over the past year, the mayor said new business brought more than $2 million to the city. More projects are in the works, like an amphitheater, a film office and upgrades to Thalia Mara Hall.
“We have been working behind the scenes to make the City of Jackson a more business-friendly place. I am happy to make applying for and renewing businesses more efficient. We have a lot to be proud of here in Jackson, never forget that,” he said.
The mayor said a new division is being added to the planning and development department to aggressively go after landlords that abandon properties in Jackson.
This year’s State of the City was held on Farish Street to highlight the efforts to make the area a thriving community. He said soon there will be more business, office spaces and food options in the area.