A Jackson, Miss. city council member has floated a plan to have local police collect millions of dollars in overdue water bills. 

Council member Ashby Foote said the city is owed more than $20 million in unpaid utility bills. Council President Melvin Priester expressed support for Foote’s proposal, stating that the city is in a budget crisis and in “huge trouble” if it doesn’t start collecting the delinquent utility accounts.

 Foote believes an incentive plan might help convince the Jackson Police Department to agree to his plan. He suggested 10% to 15% of the money collected by the department could stay with the department. 

 “I think if the [police] shows up to people’s doors to pay their water bills, my guess is the compliance rate will go way up,” Foote said, according to WAPT-TV news.

Police officials have not commented on Foote’s plan. The department reportedly is facing a manpower and budget shortage.  Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance told the Jackson Free Press earlier this week that his department and has no funding for a new recruit class and that this year's budget is some $2 million less than a year ago. He said the department has 32 police officer vacancies and 20 open civilian positions and is struggling to retain employees.  

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.