City Council votes against Jackson mayor infrastructure emergency declaration

Mayor Tony Yarber
Mayor Tony Yarber

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The Jackson City Council has voted down Mayor Tony Yarber’s new infrastructure emergency declaration.

The declaration gives the city power to make emergency repairs without going through the bid process.

The Clarion-Ledger reports (http://on.thec-l.com/1EaB0ev) Yarber initially declared an infrastructure emergency March 27. It expired after seven days. Yarber then signed a second, 30-day emergency declaration, but it requires City Council support.

The declaration has been on hold for the last two weeks as the City Council didn’t take it up.

Near the end of Tuesday night’s meeting, the council voted against Yarber’s new declaration.

The city is having problems with its century-old water lines. In the last few weeks, there has been an increase in boil water notices and water line leaks.

Ninety-three precautionary boil water notices have been issued so far this year, mostly as a result of leaks in Jackson’s aging water lines.

A City official said at least 75 water line leaks have occurred this year and more are expected.

Councilman Charles Tillman says the aging water pipes will continue to break apart because they have been there so long.

The key question is whether the city of Jackson has an infrastructure emergency. Mayor Tony Yarber says he declared the emergency declaration because of the water system failures that negatively impacted public health and safety.

The emergency declaration allows the city to bypass the normal bidding process in seeking and awarding services and will allow the city to seek federal and state funds.