BYRAM, MS (WLBT) - Most people turn on the faucet without a thought, but some Byram residents see money and not water going down the drain.
"Within the last year, it's gone from $100 a year to $600 a year," said Byram resident David Hamby. "It's unfair and it's extortion. I even put on my last check that I put in the mail this past Saturday, 'if you cash this check it amounts to extortion.'"
Byram residents were paying $1.43 per 100 cubic feet of water. Now those same people living within one mile of the capital-city limits are being charged $4.40. That's double the $2.20 Jackson residents pay. On top of that, there is a service charge if residents use over 600 cubic feet of water. Jackson residents pay $13.20; Byram residents pay double. It is completely legal based on a 1972 legislation.
"It's strictly arbitrary," said State Senator David Blount, D-Hinds County. "It's not based on the cost of the water. It is a made up figure. In my opinion it should be outlawed."
Senator Blount is working on legislation to do just that after folks like Hamby have asked for his help.
"I want Jackson to get the water money they need from the state to improve the water system, but you shouldn't penalize a small group of people and change an unfair rate for the entire system," said Blount.
City of Jackson spokesman Christopher Mims gave WLBT this statement:
"Under state law, water rates may be doubled for customers who are served by the City water system and who live up to one mile outside the City limits. In Jackson's case, the rate for those customers is $4.40 per cubic (foot). Many of these same customers have sanitary sewer service through a private company and are not charged by the City of Jackson for sewer service."
Meanwhile, Blount plans to introduce legislation to the senate and is working on gaining support.
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