Tax Money Update
Four years after it was implemented, more than half of the roughly $59.2 million collected in one-percent tax dollars has been spent.
Through May 16, 2018, nearly $24.7 million of infrastructure funds had been paid out.
Broken down further, the lion’s share of the expenditures has gone to construction ($18.8 million), followed by engineering and design services ($4.3 million), new equipment purchases ($772,000), and program management ($771,000).
Another $1,714 has gone to advertising costs.
Amounts spent do not include the roughly $7 million that was awarded to the city to help shore up its water and sewer system. Figures also do not reflect funds that have been obligated, but not spent.
The tax went into effect in March 2014.
Under state law, an additional one-percent tax was placed on certain commercial transactions in the capital city.
Funds generated by the assessment were placed into a special account for use specifically on city infrastructure needs.
All monies have to be spent in accordance with a master plan drawn up by a 10-member oversight commission.
A one-year plan was approved in 2015. A second plan was approved in 2017.
The first-year plan included approximately $13.7 million in projects and expenditures, while the second plan included new rules on how to spend one-percent dollars.
Biggest expenditures to date include nearly $9.7 million for neighborhood street repaving and around $4.5 million for major street resurfacing.
Those contracts were awarded to APAC Mississippi and Superior Asphalt respectively.
Following APAC and Superior, Hemphill Construction has received $1,275,000 in contracts, Utility Constructors received $685,000 in projects and Wilco Inc., received $627,000, according to city records.
On the engineering side, Neel-Schaffer has received just over $1 million in contracts, followed by Waggoner Engineering ($530,000), Michael Baker International ($447,000), Stantec Consulting ($437,000) and Civiltech ($297,000), city records show.
IMS Engineers received $771,000 for program management.
Boaters at Madison Landing at the Ross Barnett Reservoir should use caution when launching boats and returning to the landing until construction is complete for a new 260-foot breakwater.
The project is expected to take approximately a month to complete.
Work began last week on the installation of a floating wave attenuator, according to officials with the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District (PRV).
The structure is also known as a breakwater.
It will offer protection for loading and unloading boats at the popular ramp located in Ridgeland, at the lower end of the lake.
The new structure will be intended for this purpose only. It will not serve as a pier.
The ramp is still accessible for public use during construction.
However, the western-most ramp near Cock of the Walk restaurant will be closed until construction is complete.
Once work is complete and the breakwater is in place, floating courtesy piers will assist boaters at the ramps.
These new piers will be installed to replace the aging concrete piers.
Boaters should never tie off to any breakwater structure either during construction or after.
The system is comprised of two pieces, which include floating concrete barges that are held in place by steel pilings.
Equipment began arriving June 18, but installation began at the end of last week.
According to PRV officials, the project was made possible by the federal Sportfish Restoration Fund, administered through the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
Jackson city officials say it will now be July before it’s ready to seek proposals for a new firm to manage the Jackson Zoological Park.
Previously, the city had hoped to have a request for proposals (RFP) ready by the June 19 council meeting.
“Parks and recreation is taking the lead on developing the RFP (and have) consulted with other zoos around the country,” Chief Administrative Officer Robert Blaine said. “We will have that process concluded by the first of July.
“We’ve had a number of conversations with external zoo management groups.”
The city wouldn’t say what firms or how many firms they were speaking with.
Meanwhile, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba is considering extending the current lease agreement with the Jackson Zoological Society if a new firm isn’t in place by the end of the fiscal year.
The city’s contract with the society ends on September 30. The fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30 of the following year.
The society has been managing the zoo since the 1980s, with the last agreement signed off on in 2006.
Jackson decided to seek new management after the society took the initial steps earlier this year to move the zoo to the golf course at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park.
For years, the park has been suffering from declining attendance and revenues.
A study conducted by a private consultant showed that the park’s surroundings were a major deterrent to the park.
The zoo is located at 2918 W. Capitol St.
Red Light Enforcement
Running a red light in Jackson could soon be more dangerous for your pocketbook.
The Jackson Police Department (JPD) is stepping up enforcement after receiving numerous complaints from residents about motorists running red lights.
“I don’t want anybody to get a ticket, but if you run a red light you deserve a ticket,” said Precinct Four Cmdr. Keith Freeman.
Interim Police Chief Anthony Moore issued the directive recently.
“We’re getting a lot of complaints,” Freeman said. “They’re just running them blatantly.”
Problem areas in Northeast Jackson include the frontage roads, “with people speeding and running lights,” he said.
He didn’t know why there had been an increase in incidents.