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|Ferriday officials to meet with DHHR on keeping local welfare office|
Ferriday Mayor Gene Allen will meet with representatives of the Department of Heath and Human Services Friday in an effort to keep the welfare office in Ferriday.
Members of the Town Council said at their meeting Tuesday they found out through a newspaper article that ran in the Concordia Sentinel the last two weeks saying that the local Office of Family Support located in Ferriday would move temporarily to Jonesville effective Jan. 2, 2008.
Allen said the move was prompted because of mold problems in the building, which is now abandoned.
Allen said he has been working with regional and state officials about keeping the service in Ferriday and has talked with people interested in building a new facility in town for the services to re-locate.
"This town was very well disrespected," Allen said. "We are talking with some people interested in buying land near the post office which belongs to Mt. Beulah Baptist Church and putting up a building that can be a tri-parish office. There was talk of the office moving to Vidalia, but I talked with Representatives and Senators and they assured me that is not going to happen."
Alderman Johnnie Brown said he had heard about the matter and wanted more information.
"I was not aware of it and I think it is disingenuous for people to come in here and not to approach this board about what is going on in our town," Brown said.
Allen said the meeting will be held Friday at 9 a.m. at New Morningstar Baptist Church.
In other business, Mike Keeng of The Architecture Studio in Baton Rouge appeared before the board to discuss the Music/Market Pavillino and Community Food Service Court Facility.
Allen said town project manager Teresa Dennis recommended Architectural Studio for the project.
Town Attorney Derrick Carson told the Board he wanted to reword part of the contract regarding late fees and the town being solely responsible for payment of fees.
"We don't want the same type of deal we had last time (with Arkel)," Carson said. "We have to ask the state for money."
Keeng told Carson to add a stipulation that his company realizes the funds are coming from the state.
The board entered into an agreement with The Architectural Studio as an architect under those stipulations.
Keeng said his company will research the property and ask for submitted bids and will come back before the board with a cost estimate and time schedule.
Allen said Keeng has worked for the state on projects and his company is currently doing expansion work in Tensas Parish on the courthouse. He also helped restore Audubon House in St. Francisville.
"He is very familiar with working with the State," Allen said.
Allen presented the board a map of where street lights are in the city provided by Entergy and invited board members to mark where they would like to see more lights along the highway.
Attorney John Sturgeon praised the Ferriday Police Department for responding to his recent burglaries and told the board he was treated very well and presented suggestions to the department.
Allen said police chiefs in the parish and the Sheriff's Department are working on putting in surveillance systems around the parish.
"The only surveillance cameras we have in Ferriday are owned by the state," Allen said.
The council also went into executive session to discuss Red Gum Waterworks, which owes the town more than $100,000.
The board voted to have Carson send out letters to different areas to help Red Gum with water system surveys and allow them more time because they are applying for a grant.
Allen asked for Red Gum to give him a monthly update on progress being made.
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