A public hearing was held Thursday at the Barnett Reservoir where residents are being asked about how to pay for dredging to clean out reservoir areas filling up with sediment.
Most of the problem is in the Pelahatchie Bay area, in canals with waterfront houses along them.
The land around the reservoir is owned by the state of Mississippi. People who live in that area lease the land from an agency of the state. Canals off of Pelahatchie Bay and elsewhere are filling up with silt making it impossible to use boats because the water is too shallow.
Reservoir manager John Sigman is getting input from leaseholders at Northwest Rankin School in the cafeteria on how to pay for dredging those canals to get rid of the silt.
"We basically live on leaseholders, the payment made to us for property they have rented to put their house or their business on."
Sigman says the reservoir has no choice but to get dredging money, about $1.8 million dollars worth, mostly from leaseholders.
"Is it fair for leaseholders to pay for siltation caused by someone constructing a house, three or four or five miles away? Probably not," said Sigman.
Lin Smith is a leaseholder and thinks the reservoir owner, the state, should help fix it.
"Why wouldn't the first thing you do is contact our legislators, and see what the state of Mississippi can do to correct this problem.
Sigman says the silt comes from construction projects like the one along Wirtz Road. He says the Department of Environmental Quality could fine the contractors and the money be used to dredge.
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