Jackson Council forges ahead with wastewater audit - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson Council forges ahead with wastewater audit

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

On Tuesday they protested outside Jackson City Hall, with signs expressing outrage over high fees.

Inside, constituents gave some council members a dressing down over the possibility of a new contract concerning residential water services. Their fear: a new contract would mean more money out of rate payers' pockets.

"Some of you, Bluntson, Tillman, you've been here a long time. You know how it feels. Have you been up there so high that you don't know how it feels to be down here?" asked one woman who spoke at the podium.

"Every one of you who voted yes for this bill, we gonna remember you when it's time to elect you again," she said.

Siemens wants to audit the city's water and wastewater system.

"You guys right now have a lot of pressure on you from the EPA," stated Chris McNeil, who spoke on behalf of Siemens at the council meeting.

Despite the protests, the council ended up voting to allow Siemens to go ahead with an energy performance audit. Siemens will be looking for cost savings to save rate payers money. After that, any contract would be performance-based, meaning if the city and ratepayers can't save money, the contractor doesn't get paid.

During the meeting, citizens also raised the issue of the $50 fee they say they incur whenever they make any change to their water service, including simply changing the bill from one person's name to another.

"If we feel we need to reduce rates or give special programs to people in need, that's something the city council needs to do," said Ward 2 Councilman Chokwe Lumumba.

Details of the audit should be hammered out within the next few days. 

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