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From: Office of the Governor    Filed 4/18/06  GCN

Governor Haley Barbour today signed the Gulf Region Water Utility Authority Act (Senate Bill 2943), legislation derived from the Governor's Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal's recommendations on taking a regional approach to managing water and sewer utility services.

"I want to thank the mayors and supervisors who worked tirelessly with my office to craft this legislation that will effectively implement the vision of the Governor's  Commission; I want to especially thank the members of the Legislature who recognized the value of this proposal," Governor Barbour said.

The new law creates six individual county authorities for each of the affected counties: Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, Stone and George. Establishing these individual authorities will allow local control over development of water and sewer systems. In addition, a Regional Utility Board will be created to encourage long-term economic development and infrastructure planning. 

"Through the provisions of this act, local governments will be working together, irrespective of political boundaries, as they rebuild South Mississippi," Governor Barbour said. "We'll have better managed and more efficient water, sewer and storm water systems that are less susceptible to storm damage. That's good for all South Mississippi residents."

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