JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Days after Governor Tate Reeves stepped up the rhetoric in his ongoing feud with Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the mayor reversed the tables, saying it’s the governor who does the politics .
Last week, the governor blamed the mayor and his administration for the city’s ability to manage its water system. He pointed to the fact that Jackson had issued a request to manage his water plants, although the state had issued a day earlier, and cited the numerous national media interviews, where he said Lumumba had insulted the people of the state.
On Monday, Lumumba refuted the governor’s claims, saying he loves the people of Mississippi and that the people of the state should not be confused with his “failure to fund Jackson over time.”
“You won’t find at any time, in any of my comments, have I ever spoken ill of the people of Mississippi,” he said. “I love the people of Mississippi. What I did was challenge state leadership to fix Jackson’s funding failure over time.
Weeks after Jackson’s water crisis began, Reeves made his comments during the turkey pardon ceremony outside the governor’s mansion.
At the heart of the case are dueling efforts to get a company to run the city’s water system. Earlier this month, the state released its request for qualifications to hire a company for a year. Lumumba said the city would not accept the RFP because the state did not consult with the administration when drafting it, and Jackson issued his own RFP in response.
It was wonderful to reflect on all we have to be thankful for as we hosted Mississippi’s first grace in Turkey today.
The event raised awareness for Extra Table which aims to provide turkeys to thousands of Mississippi families.
You can support them here: https://t.co/Lz6wiNbAJH pic.twitter.com/tWYCSSM6Cm
— Governor Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) October 20, 2022
The governor, in his comments, said the mayor wanted the city to issue his own request, so that Lumumba could direct the contract to the company of his choice.
“I was really a little worried that the turkey wouldn’t be pardoned, you know, [with him] think of me during the whole process,” Lumumba said.
The mayor also disputed claims that he broke the unified command structure put in place to respond to the city’s water crisis.
“I met with Unified Command today, as I do every Monday…every Monday to assess what is going on, to get an update on the current status, the intermediate state or [to find out] plans for our factory,” he said. “And so it was patently untrue.”
Meanwhile, while the governor claims Lumumba lied about the people of Mississippi, the mayor says Reeves has shown time and again how little he cares about Jackson.
“It’s a bit of a bipolar analysis that the governor has…Some days, you know, it’s ‘I want to be the savior of Jackson’s water system. I want you to know everything we do and how we saved Jackson from here. Then the other days it’s ‘I want you to know how much contempt I have for Jackson’, saying ‘It’s always a great day not to be in Jackson,” Lumumba said.
“People joked about my expression at the press conference after he said it, when he talked about the $200 million he gave Jackson, only for him to release a list that you you know she was laughable,” he said. “It was laughable because there were funds that were loans that the city has to pay. Unless they give up these millions and millions of dollars in loans that we have to pay back, that we have to pay the administrative costs of, that we have to pay the low interest on, then I don’t know what you gave us. ”
In September, Governor Reeves said the state had given Jackson $200 million over the past five or six years to meet its litany of infrastructure needs. This $200 million included loans/emergency loans from the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and $86.7 million from tax-generated revenue. of sale on the city’s 1% infrastructure. A list provided by the governor’s office also showed he gave Jackson $42 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding, though that money was given to the city by the federal government through direct allocation.
“So the governor is giving nothing away when the people of Jackson decide to add a penny on the goods and services they buy to take care of their infrastructure,” Lumumba said. “Even when you take the CCID, the CCID is just an offset to Jackson’s tax dollars…So it’s the people of Jackson who are paying for Jackson’s infrastructure.”
The CCID is the Capitol Complex Improvement District. The Legislature created the district in a previous session and provides state sales tax revenue to make improvements there.
“Now the reason that time and time again I have decided not to go to the Governor…not to go along and instead encourage cooperation…Every time a statement is made, every time he has a temper, what do I come back [to you with]? I come back to you with facts. I’ll get back to you with the details,” he said. “And then I say, ‘Governor, I hope we can cooperate and work together.'”
“And the reason I’m doing this is, first and foremost, that I don’t care what the governor thinks of me. Secondly, I would say that we both have to understand that the challenges we face are bigger than me and bigger than him,” he said. “It is How do we restore a functioning and reliable system for the people of Jackson?”
Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Copyright 2022 WLBT. All rights reserved.