Diamondhead wants control of water/sewer nominations
By Dwayne Bremer
Feb 4, 2014, 21:17
Diamondhead's mayor and city council want to control who gets appointed to the Diamondhead Water and Sewer District, and on Monday, the city asked the Hancock County Board of Supervisors to support a legislative action which would change existing state law and cede the power to the city.
DWSD is an independent entity which is made up of five commissioners who are appointed by the board of supervisors.
Once a commissioner is appointed, however, he or she is not accountable to supervisors and acts as an autonomous member of the board.
Commissioners are only paid $85 per meeting, but they oversee the budget of the district, set rates, and make decisions on infrastructure projects, such as the multi-million dollar sewer treatment plant currently being discussed.
The structure is much like other rural water and sewer and fire protection districts in the county.
Appointment of commissioners to DWSD has been a point of contention for several years.
When Diamondhead became a city two years ago, several political leaders expressed a desire for the city to be able to have a say in who controls DWSD.
To change how commissioners are appointed, however, the state legislature must enact a new law. That bill is expected to be voted on by the state senate next week.
Supervisors passed a resolution supporting the change, but asked that all of the current commissioners be allowed to complete their respective terms.
"I think the city should have control," District Five Supervisor Tony Wayne Ladner said Tuesday. "My only concern is that they have $30 million in projects on the table and I don't know if we need to have five new people in there right away."
Schafer said he does not believe there is any plan to "clean house."
"There is no plans, at least not to my knowledge, to do anything with the commissioners right now," Schafer said. "It is going to take months to evaluate them. "
Currently, DWSD is one commissioner short and is awaiting an appointment.
Ladner said he would like to see the results of next week's state senate vote before making the appointment or allowing the city to choose.