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|Ferriday traffic fines totaled $3.1 million in four years; $2.5 million paid|
Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin told Ferriday Chamber of Commerce members Tuesday that state auditors found some irregularities in a recent audit at town hall.
"Hopefully they will get to the bottom of it," McGlothin said. "They are short-handed right now and said they will have to get back to us."
McGlothin said there were about six traffic citations written the three months before he took office.
That is a big difference in the amount written during former mayor Gene Allen's tenure the last four years.
"In four years from 2000 to 2004 there were $544,000 in tickets written in the town," McGlothin said of the last time he was in office. "From 2005-08 there were about $3.12 million in tickets. Of that $2.5 million was collected, and that is hard to do. But that is an awful lot of tickets and I don't know where all that money went. I'm not saying anything bad, I just don't know. It may have been spent on bills. Money was made and bills were paid, but apparently no money has been put into the maintenance of things."
Most of the maintenance problems seem to involve the Ferriday water system.
McGlothin went to Washington D.C. last week to talk with state representatives about Ferriday's water.
"Ferriday is still looking for a solution to its water problems," McGlothin said. "Gregory Griggs has done a good job and knows what he is doing at the water plant. But it is tough to run. The surface water changes that quick. The water plant was built in 1968 and has given us problems since 1968."
McGlothin said he has two plans for giving Ferriday quality water year-round.
The first plan, which McGlothin said he feels is the best, is for the Town of Ferriday to coordinate with Concordia Waterworks.
"We would drill our wells at Lake St. John and let Concordia Water run it," McGlothin said. "We pay them for the distribution. Our rates will stay the same and we will get more consistent good water. Concordia Waterworks has not been real receptive in the past, but we're hoping they will work with us now."
McGlothin said there is a from the USDA that is 12 years old but never been used.
"I'm asking them to extend that grant," McGlothin said. "There was no sense in pouring money into a plant in the past that does not work."
McGlothin is also looking at raising the weir in Old River. The parish is receiving a $100,000 grant to do the survey on raising the weir.
"I've asked Rodney Alexander to help us with this," McGlothin said. "If we can raise the water level at least 10 feet it will give us a good pool of water year round. We won't be running into the organic matter in the bottom of the river. It will also benefit the parish because it could be used for fishing and water sports."
McGlothin said he is in negotiations with Triton Water Technologies.
"We're hoping to borrow $1.9 million from the bond commission," he said. "We're taking in Red Gum. We are going to get money we have not been getting because of faulty meters and the money we will make there will pay Triton."
McGlothin said right now there are five different brands of water meters in Ferriday with 60 percent accuracy
"Some meters are not working and they were just charging a flat rate for those people and that is not legal," he said. "They have not been collecting money on the water. The state auditors have checked on this and said there is a serious problem with the payments."
McGlothin said Triton will put in new meters, replace the old water tank and build a new one to hold up to a million gallons of water. McGlothin said it would cost the town $1.9 million and that the town will seek revenue from the state Bond Commission.
"This will help our fire rating, as well," McGlothin said. "We'll have more water on hand. Over the last four years, nothing was fixed at the water plant. And we are under a court order from DEQ to fix our sewer plant. We are in serious trouble with our sewer plant. There has been no maintenance there in the last four years."
McGlothin said he is concentrating on cleaning up the entire town, and not just certain parts.
He is also cleaning up the police department facility, which has leaks and several lights not working. He said he will also continue efforts to build a new fire department.
"There were also only three lights working in city hall and two computers were broke," he said. "We've just been trying to catch up. I wouldn't say anything major was wrong, but there was a lot of maintenance that should have been done that wasn't done."
McGlothin revamped most of the police department, hiring former Ferriday Police Chief Kenneth Hedrick back to that position.
"Letting go of some of the people in the police department was one of the hardest things I've had to do in my life," McGlothin said. "But some of them had just lost their way. I would have a number of elderly people call or come by and tell me how they were mistreated. Kenneth is a good police chief and he knows the area. He will do a good job. I hope the people will give him a chance to do his job."
McGlothin said he will have one officer specifically patrolling downtown, around the schools and neighborhoods at night.
"His job will be to just patrol those areas," he said.
McGlothin said he is working with Recreation District No. 1 to find recreation for the children.
"If you don't have anything to do but get in trouble, that's what you are going to do," he said.
McGlothin said he is also working with the Ferriday Historic Downtown Commission to help Ferriday receive Main Street status, as well as working to get a grant to restore the old Pasternack site.
McGlothin stressed that he has a good relationship with Allen.
"I have had no problem whatsoever other than we see some things differently," he said. "My job is to do what I need to do to help Ferriday."
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