The Jackson City Council discussed borrowing $90 million last night for infrastructure repair. Mayor Tony Yarber told the city council that it wanted to borrow $90 million against future 1% sales tax revenues. Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon presided over the meeting and said a special meeting will be held before March 8 to vote on obtaining the loan.
The city will borrow the money through the Mississippi Development Bank. MDB meets every month but Mayor Yarber and Councilwoman Barrett-Simon said they wanted to vote on the measure before the next MDB meeting on March 8. Mayor Yarber said the Sales Tax Commission only has the authority to approve projects and the master plan but not actual spending of the 1% sales tax.
Section 27-65-241 of the Mississippi Code states:
(h) The commission shall, with input from the municipality, establish a master plan for road and street repair, reconstruction and resurfacing projects based on traffic patterns, need and usage, and for water, sewer and drainage projects. Expenditures of the revenue from the tax authorized to be imposed pursuant to this section shall be made at the discretion of the governing authorities of the municipality if the expenditures comply with the master plan. The commission shall monitor the compliance of the municipality with the master plan.
(8) The governing authorities of any municipality that levies the special sales tax authorized under this section are authorized to incur debt, including bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness, for the purpose of paying the costs of road and street repair, reconstruction and resurfacing projects based on traffic patterns, need and usage, and to pay the costs of water, sewer and drainage projects in accordance with a master plan adopted by the commission established pursuant to subsection (7) of this section. Any bonds or notes issued to pay such costs may be secured by the proceeds of the special sales tax levied pursuant to this section or may be general obligations of the municipality and shall satisfy the requirements for the issuance of debt provided by Sections 21-33-313 through 21-33-323.
Kingfish note: It is quite clear that Stokes and Priester will vote for the bill. Ms. Barrett-Simon probably will support getting the loan because she refused to place the item in a committee and instead said she wanted to get a vote before March 8. It is not clear how Hendrix or Foote will vote. This item has a real chance of passing.