City Wants State’s Help Recouping Funds

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For three months out of the year, lawmakers descend on the capital city to craft the laws of the state. As they hunker down in metro-area hotels and frequent local eateries during the 2019 legislative session, Jackson officials are hoping legislators will show some love to their city in the Capitol chambers by supporting its legislative agenda.

Jackson City Council Vice President Virgi Lindsay of Ward 2 chairs the City's legislative committee. After meeting with department heads, city lobbyist Quincy Mukoro and lawmakers, she is confident about Jackson's asks, which she described as good and reasonable.

But the sole woman on the council is also a realist: Lindsay knows that although Jackson desperately needs legislative assistance with recouping uncollected funds, the 2019 session might be fairly stagnant.

"It's an election year," Lindsay told the Jackson Free Press. "I don't know what will stick or what won't stick at the Legislature, but I am hopeful that we can get them all through this year."

Helping Jackson's Bottom Line

City officials hope lawmakers at the Capitol will consider tweaking laws to help improve Jackson's bottom line.

Despite severing ties with Siemens Inc., offering payment plans to indigent customers and beginning water shutoffs, the City's efforts are not raking in cash quick enough to fill the $10 million to $20 million hole in water-and-sewer billing and collections.

While Jackson officials want to remain compassionate to residents facing hard times, they have less patience with those who have not paid a bill in two years or more. In November, the public-works department began shutting off water to customers who did not make payments in 2017 or 2018. Of the 782 households that received warning letters, the City remotely disconnected 44 percent of them.

By the end of the month, only 1 percent of customers had paid in full, and 17 percent were

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