JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – While rain continues to plague flood prone areas in Jackson, the One Percent Sales Tax Commission is learning where the Public Works Department stands on drainage and bridge projects.
Mayor Chowke Lumumba now resides over commission meetings as chair.
Wednesday’s meeting revealed the One Percent Sales Tax program has collected over $46,242,965 since it was implemented in 2014. According to City Engineering Manager Charles Williams, $31,161,683 have been obligated towards projects.
Williams gave updates on drainage and bridge projects. One project that stuck out was the plan to alleviate flooding from Belhaven Creek (Belmont Street to Piedmont Street and Woodrow Wilson Avenue to Riverdale Drive). He says the plans and contract documents are %95 complete.
However, there was chatter on the decision to go with a $2 million plan, instead of a more costly plan that wouldn’t guarantee better results.
“We see that we have approximately a $2 billion infrastructure problem in the City of Jackson. We don’t have $2 billion. So that means that ultimately, all decisions that we make will be limited in some scope in terms of what we’re trying to accomplish,” Mayor Lumumba said.
Two separate projects are underway on Eubanks Creek. One involves State Street to Eagle Avenue. The estimated $2 million project is 60% complete, according to Williams. The section of the project that spans from Forest Avenue to Northside Drive is 90% complete, and is estimated to cost $1,400,000.
When it comes to bridges, the commission learned the Robinson Road bridge is expected to be open by October 1st.
Shortly after, the McDowell Road bridge will go under construction. The Public Works Department hopes to leave one side of the bridge open for traffic on the busy corridor.
“We’re looking for the solutions. We’re trying to get this process moving more quickly. And that’s not really something that’s being critical of what was done in the past than it is understanding now that we have a clearer vision,” Vice-Chair Duane O’neill said.
O’neill says the commission is confident with the new leadership of Mayor Lumumba, and is looking forward to putting money towards more projects.
In July, the city had the highest sales tax allocations since the program was put in place. It was $1.5 million dollars.
“The last time we got even roughly close to that was about $1.4 [million] in May of ’16. So encouraging residents to buy in Jackson is really worth doing,” Williams said.
Mayor Lumumba brought more changes by scheduling regular meeting dates for the commission. It’ll be the second Wednesday of every month, at the Warren G. Hood building on President Street.
There will be updates on streets and water lines at the next meeting.