Pat Harrison Waterway District losing a county

BAY SPRINGS — Jasper County is withdrawing from the Pat Harrison Waterway District.

The Chronicle reports the decision came this week by the board of supervisors.

The Pat Harrison Waterway District provides flood control, water management and recreation in along rivers and their tributaries in the Pascagoula River Basin in southeastern and east central Mississippi.

State law allows counties to withdraw from waterway districts as long as they pay their portion of the district’s debt as it stands when they leave. The amount owed is determined by an audit.

PHWD operates a total of nine water parks with recreational facilities including cabins, R.V. camping sites, water slides, boat launches, shelters and nature trails.

Board of Supervisors President Curtis Gray said the board has talked about this matter since 1999.

“We don’t have a project in Jasper County,” Gray said. “The burden is on the ad valorem taxpayers.”

Board attorney Ricky Ruffin said the agency has provided the county with some assistance with drainage on county roads but it’s less than the county gives to the agency.

According to county records, Jasper County paid PHWD $140,661 during this budget year.

“Jasper County ad valorem paying citizens don’t need to be paying for the operations of parks in other counties,” Ruffin said. “Basically now, the agency handles park operations, and Jasper County does not have a park.”

Other counties in the waterway district are Clarke, Covington, Forrest, George, Greene, Jackson, Jones, Lamar, Lauderdale, Newton, Perry, Smith, Stone and Wayne.

Ruffin said the county has to notify PHWD of its intentions to withdraw to begin the process.

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