- Bob Arnold
Funds coming to spare taxpayers
By Bob Arnold
Wesson fire and police departments, local streets and the town’s water system are in line to benefit from a variety of state and federal funds that will reduce the burden of local taxpayers.
At recent meetings, Wesson Aldermen have been looking at ways to spend money from British Petroleum (BP) funds paid the state for oil spill damages and disbursed to localities, federal government American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) two-for-one matching funds being distributed through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, state rebate funds from the Municipal Fire Protection Fund (MFPF) and federal Homeland Security funds for emergency preparedness.
The most immediate expenditure will be $60,000 BP funds for paving Eighth and Spring Streets.
Longer term are expenditures are anticipated for a new fire truck and other fire fighting equipment that will cost more than $400,000 of which $182,000 is now available from the state MFPF rebate funds. The maintenance cost of Wesson Volunteer Fire Department’s primary fire truck are soaring, town officials note.
Town Aldermen have also set a motion the process to tap matching funds of more than $400,000 for the town water system from federal ARPA funds that Congress allocated for COVID-19 relief and recovery. They approved the hiring of Brookhaven-based Dungan Engineering to analyze town water system needs with an eye towards purchases of generators and equipment, upgrading stations and replacing meters.
The Wesson Police Department also stands to benefit from an $86,000 federal Homeland Security grant, and Police Chief Chad O’Quinn has already told Aldermen he want to equip his officers with five tasers with a five-year life at $2,500 each.