Governor signs bill banning property value-based water billing

Gov. Tate Reeves (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Gov. Tate Reeves (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)(Rogelio V. Solis | AP)
Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 5:07 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson’s third-party water manager was determining his next steps after the governor signs a bill that could prevent him from implementing a new water rate structure in Jackson.

On Friday, Reeves signed H.B. 698, which prohibits cities from charging customers for water based on any other factor than use.

“Water bills will continue to be based off of personal consumption. It just makes common sense,” Reeves wrote in a Twitter post. “I just signed the law to guarantee it.”

The signature comes months after Interim Third-Party Manager Ted Henifin proposed changing the city’s billing structure to charge customers based on the value of their homes or businesses.

Henifin said the move would allow Jackson to bypass the city’s faulty billing system and would lessen the burden of higher water bills on lower-income residents.

“We were kind of waiting to see if he was gonna sign it. We have been doing a lot of research on our options... just not ready to roll any of that out yet,” Henifin said. “We’ll figure it out.”

H.B. 698 was authored by Rep. Shanda Yates, who represents parts of Northeast Jackson and Ridgeland.

She introduced the measure after several of her constituents raised about Henifin’s proposal.

“It’s a commonsense piece of legislation. I’m glad the governor saw the same and we were able to get it done,” she said.

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