Reservoir authority bill vetoed by governor - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Reservoir authority bill vetoed by governor

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The legislation would have allowed the Reservoir to perform services like road maintenance, fire protection and policing in the neighborhoods. The legislation would have allowed the Reservoir to perform services like road maintenance, fire protection and policing in the neighborhoods.
ROSS BARNETT RESERVOIR (Mississippi News Now) -

House Bill 1584 would've granted the Reservoir board city-like powers.

"The reservoir does not desire to be a municipality. We don't want to even be another level of government," explained Ross Barnett Reservoir General Manager John Sigman.

Governor Bryant said in his veto message, "I am concerned that the bill gives unlimited taxing authority to an unelected board to provide unspecified municipal services in the leasehold areas of the Ross Barnett Reservoir."

The board is appointed but say they didn't even know about the bill until after it had passed the House.

"We did not make up the list nor request the list. It appeared and when we looked at it we said that would offer some advantages to our lease holders yet it had no viable funding mechanism," said Sigman.

The legislation would have allowed the Reservoir to perform services like road maintenance, fire protection and policing in the neighborhoods.

"That's an authority we do not have. We now patrol the water and the park and the dam and that's all," Sigman explained.

But the bill's author, Representative Mark Baker, says that's the wrong interpretation. According to him, it would not have added any new powers, but he admits there is debate over the authority.

"There's been some confusion expressed. There continues to be some confusion expressed about the breadth and scope of that authority with regard to providing services to resident lease holders. And what we wanted to do is clarify the existing law in that respect," said Representative Baker.

The authorities listed in the bill are all part of a Stennis study requested by Representative Baker. He plans to rework the bill for next session.

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