The City of Jackson could lower residents’ water-bill debts if Gov. Tate Reeves signs Senate Bill 2856, which both houses of the Legislature passed unanimously, 51-0 in the Senate and 108-0 in the House of Representatives.
Sen. John Horhn, a Jackson Democrat, sponsored the bill, which he said allows the City to move what it has deemed uncollectible water bill debts to another category, which will not count against its financial rating.
"Constitutionally, no unit of government can forgive debt. But you can put it in a separate fund that it does not count against your bond rating," Horhn said at a press briefing on June 22. "We are hopeful that many in the city will be able to get the benefit behind this important legislation (through adjusted debts), and also that the City of Jackson will be able to get some benefit for getting our bond rating up and not have this debt that is uncollectible to sit on our books and count against our bond ratings."
Horhn said there is every expectation that Gov. Reeves will sign the bill.
Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba said that residents have been on the receiving end of skewed bills they have been unable to pay because of the dysfunctional billing system that ended in a legal settlement against Siemens.
"We have been significantly challenged with our water-sewer business administration, as it pertains to water billings and the erroneous and sometimes difficult bills that residents have been tasked with," Lumumba said at the press briefing. "So it has been a part of our legislative agenda for three years now to provide relief to our residents, and we are happy to announce that the state legislature has passed a measure that has made it possible for us to adjust bills for our customers."
"The bills that many