‘Explosion of unpaid water bills’ leads to concerning financial situation for City of Jackson, auditor says
Published 9:16 am Tuesday, May 9, 2023
The Mississippi State Auditor’s office has released an analysis of the audits of the City of Jackson from the last two decades. The analysis shows a concerning financial situation for the city and its residents.
“While my office is legally prohibited from auditing cities, cities like Jackson are audited by private CPA firms,” said State Auditor Shad White. “We can, however, analyze the results of city audits. Our analysis of Jackson’s audits shows serious and fundamental financial issues that have to be straightened out. Every concerned taxpayer should be reading this report.”
The analysis highlights key problems, such as:
- Despite a population loss since 2003, Jackson’s revenue continues to increase.
- Continued revenue increases are being outpaced by expenses.
- The city’s largest source of revenue, property taxes, is being paid by fewer individuals.
- There has been an explosion of unpaid water bills. The city’s accounting treats many of these bills as if they will never be paid.
- The city is not collecting all its water bills, and if it does not collect water bills, it does not have the revenue to fund day-to-day operations.
- The General Fund and Siemen’s settlement dollars are footing the bill to keep the water system functioning.
- There has been a large increase in water connections added by the city despite population loss.
“Jackson is our state’s capital, and we cannot have a strong state without a strong capital,” said White. “Cities in other Southern states, like Atlanta in Georgia or Birmingham in Alabama, are growing fast and fueling the economies of their states. Jackson can generate growth for Mississippi, but not until it gets its fiscal house in order.”
The analysis can be found on the Auditor’s website under the “Reports” tab.