Pat Harrison Waterway cost for Lamar County to leave district affirmed by court

Pat Harrison Waterway cost for Lamar County to leave district affirmed by court
Pat Harrison Waterway District

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed a ruling today on Lamar County's stance on withdrawing from the Pat Harrison Waterway District.

A 5-4 vote ruled on the issue, as well as the court affirmed the county's “contractual obligation…that are outstanding” to Pat Harrison for $337,088, excluding the districts perpetual park operating and maintenance obligations.

Previous arguments regarding federal contracts creating the first of the water parks obligated all member counties including; in addition to Lamar County, Clarke, Covington, Forrest, George, Green, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lauderdale, Newton, Perry, Smith, Stone, and Wayne Counties to support public venues.

In September 2011 Lamar County notified Pat Harrison it intended to leave the district, by exercising its right under the Mississippi Code Section 51-15-118. That section states the county withdrawing shall be responsible for paying its portion of any district bonds, contractual obligations, and any other indebtedness and liabilities of the district that are outstanding on the date of such count's withdrawal.

According to court documents, $18,985,536 is what was said to be owed by the county, even if it does leave under the state statute.

Pat Harrison Waterway District Executive Director Hiram Boone released this statement following the decision.

"We're disappointed with the Court's decision and it is a setback for the Pat Harrison Waterway District's mission of flood control, water management and recreation. But we will continue to function and serve the communities in the Pascagoula River basin and seek avenues for additional revenue as well as support from the state legislature.  The District's Board will decide our next steps on this issue."