JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Under the bipartisan infrastructure law, $15 billion will be used to replace lead pipes across the United States. Mississippi is expected to get $75 million in federal funding.
For the City of Jackson, the funds may be just a drop in the bucket for its aging infrastructure.
“That is going to the state SRF funding loan process, so that gives everyone in the state municipalities and local government, whoever has sewer, water system to apply for those funds to address the needs,” explained Dr. Charles Williams, City Engineer for Jackson.
This week, the Jackson City Council voted to increase water and sewer rates. Effective Thursday, January 13, those who live within the City of Jackson will see a 20% rate increase on their water and sewer bill.
Leaders said the money in part will be put towards water and sewer operation, as well as maintenance costs.
“The ability for us to treat water means that we have to have plants that are operating at high efficiency. Also too, we have to have a very good distribution system that takes water from the plant once it’s treated to service our residents and our businesses, and that costs money. So, we are seeing increasing prices with chemicals, and we also need staffing,” explained Williams.
City leaders said the increases were needed to meet consent decree requirements and to cover current costs with the solid waste division.
The vote passed by 4-3. Councilmen Kenneth Stokes, Aaron Banks and Vernon Hartley voted against the decision.