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|Infrastructure upgrades set for town water system|
Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin told town council members Tuesday that Concordia Water Works (CWW) cannot sell water to the town, putting to an end one idea being pursued to provide better water for town residents.
"They (CWW) just don't have enough surplus," McGlothin said during Tuesday's meeting of the Ferriday Town Council. "They have a clarifier out and are not going to be able to help us."
The council voted to contract with Triton to improve the water infrastructure, which includes purchasing new water meters and making repairs to the water tank. This contract also includes replacing a backwash pump that alderman Jerome Harris called dangerous and unsafe.
Rodney Davis of Triton agreed with that assessment.
"That's a high-risk, dangerous area," Harris said. "Those guys are walking in water around electrical outlets. There is no way I would work under those conditions. It has to be fixed."
McGlothin said a new pump will be purchased using a certificate of deposit from funds the town received in a settlement with the contractor who built the town's water plant.
Davis said Triton will replace worn out equipment at the plant, and put in new electrical switches. He said the project will take about 60 days to get started.
"We're going to make it safer," Davis said.
McGlothin added: "And we've got about 350 water meters that are not working right. We're also going to take on Red Gum if they approve that at a meeting next week."
The council also approved an ordinance to create and establish the Ferriday Department of Parks and Recreation.
"It's time to put up or shut up in finding recreation for our kids," said McGlothin. "We have found several organizations that offer grants for recreation equipment. We're not going to create our own district, we're just trying to take care of business here. Recreation District No. 1 has a large area they have to cover and it's hard for them to do that with $80,000. We're not going to raise taxes, this is something we will apply for grants on."
Alderman Elijah Banks said the project will be funded by capital outlay grants.
Heather Malone of the Concordia Economic District said her organization fully supports the department.
"I think it's a wonderful opportunity to show the parish, region and state that we are proud of this town," Malone said.
"We have ball fields all over town and it's hard to service them," McGlothin said. "If we had a pinwheel complex with all the ballparks in one place it would be easier to maintain them."
The board agreed to bring names to the next meeting to serve on a committee.
The town council also discussed a letter by attorney Anna Brakenridge Ferguson to be sent to Attorney General Buddy Caldwell asking about Ferriday's position in paying legal bills to Dennis Webber for his service representing former mayor Sammy Davis. Webber is seeking $43,000 over three years, or $129,000.
Webber represented the former mayor in a malfeasance case. Davis was indicted in 1990 on three counts of malfeasance in office while mayor, and one count of injuring public records, and later convicted. The state Supreme Court overturned the conviction on a technicality.
At a recent meeting, Webber refused to reveal how much he had already been paid privately on that bill for his representation of Davis.
Ferguson said the opinion from Caldwell's office should put an end to the conflict. She advised the council not to pay any money if the AG's office says not to because they could be malfeasance in office.
"If you don't trust my opinion, hire somebody else," Ferguson said. "You can listen to me or you can listen to a man off the street."
Alderman Gloria Lloyd said she was insulted by Ferguson calling Webber a "man off the street."
"This bill has been killed each time over the last 20 years until this year," McGlothin said.
McGlothin also told the board they have $12,000 in unpaid legal bills from a class action water suit. The person doing the work went out of business, but completed their work in Ferriday.
"The previous administration stopped paying them and I don't know why," McGlothin said.The board asked about negotiating the amount, but agreed to pay it.
McGlothin said the council did not receive any bids for repair work for the gymnasium.
"That's because it cost more than $35,000," McGlothin said. "We need to use our $35,000 grant to fix something and then apply for another $35,000 grant."
Harris asked about requesting the School Board to help with the renovation because Ferriday High School officials talked about using the gym for its high school basketball games.
"They actually are providing us with a long-time free lease on the gym," McGlothin said.The board named a zoning committee consisting of Dorothy Eames, Ricky Myles, Rosa Elaine, Carl White and James Bridgewater.
The board also discussed shootings, loud music and people walking the streets at 2 a.m.
"If you ain't drunk by 2 a.m., you ain't trying," McGlothin said. "I had someone tell me they had the right to be walking around at 2 a.m. That's true, but the police also have a right to ask what you are doing at that time."
Brown asked about raising fines for those violations and using that money for a Crimestoppers program. Ferguson said a municipality cannot have fines of more than $500.
Harris pleaded with people to advise the police when they know who was involved in an altercation.
"I wait around for the police and I tell them everything I know," he said.
"The problem is, the people doing the shooting never shoot each other, it's always an elderly person or young innocent person who gets shot," McGlothin said.
Brown said he wanted to schedule a meeting with Ferriday Police Chief Kenneth Hedrick to discuss those issues as well as a neighborhood watch for each district.
The board also honored Susie Jackson on her 107th birthday and Marguerite Hayes, who passed away recently. Hayes served on the Ferriday Housing Authority board.
Occupational licenses were granted to Good Wood and B&J's Donuts.
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