BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — An Associated Press investigation shows officials in Mississippi took private property and spent millions of dollars in Hurricane Katrina recovery money on sewage plants that may not be needed for decades.
In one case, a legal battle over a small strip of land between an 86-year-old woman, her family and a county utility board has prevented a $20 million sewage plant from connecting with part of its lines. The case raises questions about whether officials rushed to spend recovery money and used bruising tactics to obtain land to build projects that aren't needed now, and may prove to be a burden to taxpayers.
State and local officials say that just because the population didn't increase as much as predicted does not mean the plants will never be needed.