Concern still looms over control of Jackson-Evers Airport

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A bill concerning leadership for the Jackson Evers Airport is moving forward through the legislature.

The debate continues over Senate Bill 2162.

The Jackson-Evers Airport Commission calls it a hostile takeover.

Some even say it’s a scheme to steal the airport from Jackson.

Jackson Municipal Airport Authority openly opposes the bill.

“It is not the right of the governor, the House, the Senate or anybody else to take the property and redistribute who will have control of that by way of the board members,” said Dr. Rosie Pridgen of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority.

“City of Jackson maintains the majority of the board of commissioners. They maintain all the revenue from the airport, sales tax and property tax. So, I really don’t see what the problem is” said Senator Josh Harkins, a sponsor of Senate Bill 2162.

Senator Harkins says the entire state has a vested interest in the success of the airport.

He believes, because the property sits near Rankin County, there should be representation across the board.

“It’s going to be hard for me to understand how they can argue when Jackson has a majority of the board members. They don’t lose any revenue, that they are being harmed, I just don’t see it,” said Senator Harkins.

But what this group says they see is a desire for control.

“This is not about how well the airport is ran and regionalization. This is about money. This is a power grab,” said Derrick Johnson of the MS State Conference NAACP.

“The thing that’s ironic to me as I think they are the ones that don’t want to lose power. All we are doing is expanding the board. The city of Jackson is going to maintain the majority of the seeds on the commission,” said Senator Harkins.

The bill was passed in the house and was amended later.

Senator Harkins says he doesn’t see there being any issues with it being passed in the Senate.

From there, it will be sent to the Governor Phil Bryant’s desk.

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