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Renewed Jackson Water Takeover Bill Earns Henefin’s Support

Renewed efforts to create a regional water authority to control the long-beleaguered Jackson, Miss., water and sewer systems have earned the backing of Ted Henifin, the interim third-party manager who is currently in charge of the system.

Henifin’s announced his support on Feb. 23—a marked contrast to accusations he previously made that a similar bill Sen. David Parker, R-Olive Branch, introduced last year represented an attempt by state lawmakers to take over the capital city’s water system.

“After reviewing S.B. 2628, I believe this is a great foundation. It appears that many of the comments I provided during the last session regarding the bill introduced in 2023 were taken to heart and this bill now includes many of the suggestions I made at that time,” Henifin said.

“The bill identifies a need for appropriations but I recommend defining a specific dollar figure to fund start-up costs for the authority be included in the FY 2025 state budget,” the statement continues.

Parker introduced Senate Bill 2889 last year, his first attempt at passing the Mississippi Capitol Region Utility Act. After Parker’s initial proposal, Henifin told the Mississippi Free Press in January 2023 that federal funds to help Jackson shore up its water system had “created a monster in the Mississippi Legislature.” But in December 2023, Henifin said that residents would benefit from an independent, non-partisan authority having control over the city’s water system, WLBT reported.

‘I’ve Tried to Make This a Better Product’

When speaking to the media last year about the previous bill, Sen. Parker denied Ted Henifin’s warning that it might allow state lawmakers to appropriate money meant for Jackson to other municipalities. The Republican senator’s previous bill said that the mayors of both Ridgeland and Byram would be involved in appointing members to the regional water-authority utility board.

“There is no intent on my part to stack a board in any way, shape or form that would give preferential treatment to the fringe areas of the water authority,” the Mississippi Free Press reported on Feb. 3, 2023. “My hope would be that if the majority of the water

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