DFA wants CCID panel in place by fall
The Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) would like to have the CCID advisory panel in place by September, so it can start prioritizing improvements for the area.
However, had HB 1226 passed in its original form, DFA would not be involved with the city’s new “capitol complex improvement district” at all.
The panel put in place to advise the state on Jackson’s new CCID is much different than the board of directors that was included in the original legislation creating it.
State lawmakers recently approved 1226, setting up the district and authorizing the state to set aside money to make infrastructure improvements within it.
The original legislation called for a five-member board of directors to govern how CCID funds would be spent.
However, the bill that was sent to the governor’s desk replaced the board with a nine-member advisory panel with little authority, and gave the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) the power of the purse.
Under the revised version, DFA must work in conjunction with the advisory panel to draw up a master plan, but can make decisions on spending without the panel’s consent.
DFA must also consult with the city of Jackson, but is not required to have the city’s approval to move forward on projects, according to DFA Executive Director Laura Jackson.
The master plan would prioritize improvements for the district.
Further, the only requirements for serving on the board are that the members must live in Jackson and cannot simultaneously serve on the city’s already existing one-percent oversight commission.
No other requirements for serving were spelled out.
District 64 Rep. Bill Denny, HB 1226’s author, agreed with the changes, and said the panel doesn’t have to have significant experience, because DFA is now administering projects.
“DFA has the staff to administer these things. It’s a vast organization,” he said. “They’re kind of the pool we turn to control things like this - to handle the purse strings and administration.”
Denny’s original board allowed for appointees to be from Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties. The board itself would have been responsible for “implement(ing) and supervis(ing) projects financed, in whole or part, with funds from the capitol complex improvement district project fund.” It also would have had the power to use funds to leverage bonds or grants.
However, the bill was amended by District 71 Rep. Adrienne Wooten to remove the Madison and Rankin appointees and add representation from the city. Wooten also included an amendment to require the state to work with minority contractors as well as major firms, something included in all state revenue bills, Denny said.
“She said this was a Jackson issue and should be handled by Jackson people, and I didn’t have a problem with it,” Denny said. “Who better to be concerned about Jackson than Jacksonians?”
The directors were replaced with an advisory panel in conference committee, and control of spending was transferred to DFA.
Changes from the conference were approved by both the House and Senate.
Under the bill, the nine-member panel includes two appointees from the governor, and one appointee each from the lieutenant governor, speaker of the House, president of Jackson State University, and vice chancellor for health affairs from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
The mayor and Jackson City Council and public works director each have one appointment to the board as well. The mayor and public works director can serve or choose designees to serve in their places, the legislation states.