Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. discovered last month that State Treasurer Tate Reeves wants details of every aspect of a $6 million state loan. Without that information, Reeves said that the state Bond Commission staff never put the loan on the agenda for the commission to vote on.
Gov. Haley Barbour then grabbed a calculator and told Johnson the obvious in an Aug. 16 letter that the $6 million loan would not fix all of Jackson's problems, and suggested the city get a 1.9 percent interest loan to fix them, instead of turning to the state for that bad ol' $6 million interest-free loan.
First of all, the city should have read the legislation that Barbour signed in April, or at least the part pertaining to Jackson. Then they would've known about the "exclusive" (for Jackson) application requirement and wouldn't be playing catch-up weeks after the commission withheld its vote.
However, any Jackson resident should be concerned that local legislators claim they have never seen this application requirement in any other state bond going to a municipality during their legislative career.
Rep. Cecil Brown of Jackson ridiculed Reeves' self-stated authority that the city must justify its need for the loan--as if the unworking Capitol toilets back in January didn't already say plenty. Furthermore, why is this kind of scrutiny even necessary when the state is getting its money back? This is not free money. This is a loan.
This situation harkens back to the days of Mayor Melton, when the Legislature refused to pass a bill allowing city voters to hold a referendum vote to increase our sales tax to support public-safety salaries and infrastructure repairs, unless a commission--containing non-Jackson residents--oversaw the money.
At the time, former Ward 2 Councilman Leslie McLemore said the only way to get legislators to agree to the referendum was to essentially take the money out of the hands of city government. But what's the reason for the state's hesitation now? Voters came to their senses and booted Melton out of office.
Mayor Johnson is no Frank Melton. Johnson has proved himself capable of funding a city budget--by balancing it in the face of millions in lost revenue.
We don't like Treasurer Reeves' patronizing tone, either. He told media outlets that the city has to answer questions about whether or not it did everything it could to get federal grants for the infrastructure work, and that it had to answer questions about what it was doing for water pipes not covered by the loan.
State officials have no right or need to patronize Mayor Johnson or the city's leadership, or play political games with the capital city's water needs. It's time for consistency. If these kinds of bonds do not require follow-up lobbying for other municipalities, then it should not for Jackson.
It is time for these old stale Jackie Robinson tricks to stop against Johnson and this administration. This man (Mayor Johnson) is not a joke: He is a well seasoned City Planner with formal specific education and training, years of experience, and good heart. One other ingredient is the fact that he is fair and loves this City.
It seems that the "powers that be" continue to want blacks to take their seat at the back of the bus and for those who slipped to the front, you must say, "Yessaa, Nosssa, I can Hossaa". This is the only acceptable language and behavior: When it is not used, rules, regulations, guidelines, policies, practices, customs, mores, folkways, traditions, and anything else you can think of become the expected.
Shame on Barbour and Reeves!
PS. Don't the toilets at State Offices have to be FLUSHED from time to time and don't hands need washing, sometimes?????
Not only this, but state agencies reportedly owe Jackson a total of at least $150,000 in unpaid water bills. $100K belongs to the former Stadium Commission that had control of the Vet. That bill goes back two years! I used to work for the Water/Sewer administration and I've seen people be cut off for much, much, much less.
- golden eagle