As one of three members of the State Bond Commission, I must respond to the Aug. 9 editorial regarding our recent meeting (“Bonds: Remember the portable toilet?”). I remember all too well the days the largely ignored infrastructure problems in the city of Jackson “left much of the state government unable to function without portable toilets.”
Evidently, city leaders have shared more with The Clarion-Ledger on the intended uses of the bond proceeds than they have any member of my staff. In fact, no one at the City of Jackson has contacted me or anyone at my office to discuss how they intend to spend the $6 million.
What do they plan to purchase to solve the problems that occurred in January? Or is this money going to be spent on another project? What are the total infrastructure improvements that need to be made to the water/sewer system in Jackson? What is the total cost to achieve these improvements? How do you plan to fund the other improvements that have largely been ignored for many years? Is federal money available to help fund some of these enhancements? If so, has the city been diligent in ensuring that all federal sources were applied for and deadlines were met? Is there an alternative source of funds through revolving loan programs that every other municipality in the state must utilize? If funded, does the city intend to request more money in the future?
These are just a few of the questions that must be answered. I was first elected in 2003 to be a watchdog for the taxpayers. Irrespective of the beliefs of Editorial Director David Hampton, the Bond Commission is not an “antiquated vestige of days gone by” but a responsible example of the needed checks and balances by the Executive Branch of Mississippi state government.
In fact, the State Bond Commission’s proactive role in managing our debt portfolio is one reason Mississippi is in far better shape fiscally today than most other states.
I appreciate the hard work of the governor and attorney general and their staffs to work with my dedicated staff to protect the taxpayers. I must admit that this proactive approach takes a lot more time than simply “rubber stamping” the projects passed by the Legislature. But if it just takes a little time to save Mississippi taxpayers millions of dollars and avoid another “beef plant,” I think that is time well spent!
Treasurer, State of Mississippi