(Jackson, MS) – Wednesday, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba held a press briefing dispelling the notion that he is intentionally holding up the progress of interlocal agreements between the City of Jackson and Hinds County from being processed as they pertain to fixing infrastructure issues in the city.
To date, there are 42 interlocal agreements which are waiting to be processed, the majority of which originated under the previous administration dating back to 2016.
Out of those, only 11 interlocal agreements have been drafted up since Mayor Lumumba has taken office. He has signed off on five of them so far.
During the press briefing Mayor Lumumba called the process for handling interlocal agreements “historically inefficient”. He told reporters, “This process, as it stands now, has played a major part in holding up much needed progress in the City of Jackson, especially when it comes to our roads and sidewalks. I want to assure everyone that I do not have a stack of these interlocal agreements just sitting on my desk that I’m refusing to sign as has been suggested by some. That claim could not be further from the truth and, unfortunately, has been used as a ploy to turn the people’s great concern into a play to gain political points.”
In order to remedy the hold up, Mayor Lumumba along with Chief Administrative Officer, Dr. Robert Blaine proposed a new collaborative process which would involve a standing project development committee consisting of a public works representative from the City of Jackson and Hinds County as well as a legal representative from both entities to determine the feasibility of proposed interlocal projects before they go to the Hinds County Board of Supervisors for a vote.
If it passes, the interlocal agreement would then be sent to the legal department in the City of Jackson before it is sent to Jackson’s public works department for quick and final review.
Once that happens, the public works department would then put it on the agenda to go before City Council.
Upon approval from City Council, the interlocal agreement would then be sent to the mayor’s office for signature.
Once that happens, the interlocal agreement would be sent back to Hinds County who would then send it to the attorney general.
“From that point, it is out of our hands.”, said Dr. Blaine who went on to tell reporters, “This is a procedure that we believe will hasten the procedure for which interlocal agreements are processed and one that we want to stay in place regardless of who takes office. This will ensure that critical infrastructure matters do not go unaddressed for an unnecessary and reasonable amount of time.”