Jasper County withdraws from Pat Harrison Waterway District

JASPER COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - On Monday the Jasper County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to withdraw from Pat Harrison Waterway District affective September 30, 2013.

According to Board Attorney, William Ruffin, the Jasper County Board of Supervisors will not be providing the district any funding for the fiscal year, October 1 – September 14, 2014. Ruffin said it is no longer economically feasible for the ad valorem tax payers of Jasper County to continue to support the District.

"We, here in Jasper County, have no water parks or other Pat Harrison facilities and only receive a small amount of funding from Pat Harrison for drainage projects in Jasper County," said Ruffin.

Last year, according to Ruffin, Pat Harrison Waterway District received $150-thousand from Jasper County. Ruffin said that money went more towards other counties. He said very little of that was spent in Jasper County.

"If we invested those funds in county roads over the next 10 years, we could pave or resurface an additional 10 to 12 miles of roads, which would be much more beneficial to the property owners of Jasper County than would our contribution to Pat Harrison Waterway District," said Ruffin.

Just last month a judge ruled that Lamar County could legally withdraw from Pat Harrison Waterway District. That decision opened the door for others to exit if they chose to, as long as they met their obligations.

"The withdrawal from Pat Harrison by Lamar Co. is going to place a greater burden on the remaining counties to support the district.  It is my understanding that Lamar Co. contributed over 300,000 to the district. For the district to survive this, loss of revenue will have to be paid by other counties in the district," said Ruffin.  "The district tried to change the law in the last legislative session to make it more difficult to withdraw for the district, without consulting the counties.  They we unsuccessful in getting the law change and we feel  as though they will try again to modify the law and ad more expense to the counties."

Ruffin also mentioned, "It has been an honor and a privilege to be associated with Pat Harrison Waterway District through the many years. "

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