Governor urges Jackson to secure loans for infrastructure - - Jackson, MS

Governor urges Jackson to secure loans for infrastructure

By Cheryl Lasseter - bio|email|twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - At 1 p.m. Thursday, Governor Haley Barbour entered his office at the state capitol to meet with a group of legislators fired up about his lack of action on Jackson's  six-million-dollar water and sewer bond.  It would allow the city to borrow interest-free cash to improve the infrastructure around the state capitol, a good starting point in fixing Jackson's massive water and sewer system.

The lawmakers hoped to convince the Governor to push it through. But Representative Credell Calhoun, (D) Jackson, says nothing was accomplished.  "Nothing. Nothing. Nothing," he told WLBT.

The Governor says he first wants to see Jackson tap into low-interest revolving funds.  The city would get more money to fix a larger portion of the water and sewer problem.

"Why should we issue $6 million in bonds...for the same amount it took to pay them off, Jackson can borrow $15 million, and the $15 million is 83% federal money," Governor Barbour said.

But oddly, Governor Barbour seemed to support the bond during this year's regular session, when he signed a bill into law which included language specific to the bond.

We asked the Governor why he signed off on House Bill 1701.  "Because at that time we were not aware Jackson would qualify to use the revolving funds, and the annual cost would be less," he said.

Representative Cecil Brown, (D) Jackson, explained what happened in the meeting.  "(The Governor) made it clear that he would like to see the city access the revolving funds.  A representative of the city said they would probably do that.  If they do that, they can come back to the bond commission for the $6 million, he'll vote to approve the $6 million," Brown said.

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