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|Ferriday seeks $1 million to resolve water woes|
The Ferriday Town Council put into motion Tuesday night plans to obtain $1 million for the town's water plant.
Aldermen approved a resolution to apply for a $250,000 LGAP (Local Government Assistance Program) water grant and introduced an ordinance and approved a resolution to apply for a $750,000 water revenue bond through the state bond commission.
Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin said the town originally applied for a $36,000 grant from LGAP, but was told to hold up on that one and ask for more.
"We had already filled out the paperwork, but they told us to go after more," McGlothin said.
McGlothin said the town would only have to pay back 25 percent of the water revenue bond.
"We're hoping the local banks will help us out and the USDA will pay them back," McGlothin said.
McGlothin said the town has three options.
"We need to get completely out of Old River," he said. "Our best scenario is to use our money and go with Concordia Water and get out of the water business completely. Our other option is drilling wells which would mean building a new plant, but that would take three years. USDA has also talked to us about drilling wells in Vidalia and letting them be our water provider, which would also help them get a new plant."
McGlothin is continuing to meet with state and water officials to push for a quick end to the water problem.
In other business, alderman Elijah Banks offered a motion to pay former Mayor Sammy Davis Jr. $64,823 in outstanding legal fees.
Davis was indicted in 1990 on three counts of malfeasance in office and one count of injuring public records. The state Supreme Court overturned the conviction on a technicality.
In 1994, Davis was denied the money by the state. His attorney, Dennis Webber, appeared before the board last year and asked for $129,646.08.
An Attorney General's report said the town could pay the money.
"I read the entire Attorney General's opinion and its says we only have to pay that if there are no other bills," McGlothin said. "We've got a crisis right now with our water. I don't know where that money would come from to pay those fees."
Alderman Johnnie Brown offered a different motion to ask the finance committee to see if it could find another way to pay the $64,823.
"I'm somewhat frustrated the state paid another person's debt, but would not pay Mr. Davis'," Brown said. "It should not be placed on us, we didn't bring the charges."
Davis died in 2006.
Gloria Lloyd seconded the Banks' motion, but Johnnie Brown, Jerome Harris and Somer Lance voted against it.
Brown then made the motion to ask the finance committee to look for another way to find the money to pay Davis and it was approved unanimously.
The board touched on another controversial issue regarding the old swimming pool.
Brown said he talked with longtime lifeguard Carl Dangerfield, who he said the pool needed lights, the tank needs repairing and it could be running in four days.
Ann Baker Smith objected to opening the pool back up and presented pictures of the pool from 2007, which led to a loud discussion between Smith and Brown and Banks.
"I grew up swimming in bar pits," Brown said. "We should be able to fix that pool."
McGlothin said he contacted Don Blankenstein who will meet with the recreation committee regarding the pool.
McGlothin also told the board they needed to raise the price of garbage collection $2 a month because of rising fees from the company which serves Ferriday.
"We're losing $24,000 a month and our auditor says we cannot lose money on garbage collection," McGlothlin said. "We can put this back on the agenda next month which will allow everybody to look at it."
The board also discussed breaking away from Recreation Board No. 1.
"Any time we try a few things we end up paying the majority regarding recreation," McGlothin said. "I think we need to divest ourselves from the recreation board and use our millage money to run our own program."
Brown gave a motion for the recreation board to meet with the board at its June 22 special meeting.
The board will have a public hearing on that day to discuss the budget.
The board also approved raising the fine for loud music from $281 to $500. Alderman Gloria Lloyd made the motion and said the original ordinance also includes fining persons in the car stopped for loud music.
The board also discussed block parties after receiving a request for a block party
"This is kind of a two-edged sword," McGlothin said. "We don't have anything for the kids to do, but the later it gets they disturb the neighbors. I prefer them hiring an off duty policeman or deputy. We also have the gym they can be used. We don't have to make tons of money off of it."
McGlothin said he will seek more information on the request.
The board also discussed people riding scooters at night.
"We've had two people almost hit," McGlothin said. "We need to have reflectors or lights on the scooters. I'm going to look at seeing if we can find a sponsor to buy flags, reflectors or lights. If you don't have lights, you cannot ride them at night."
The board approved Silas Simmons as auditor and Jeri Sue Tosspon as CPA and the Concordia Sentinel as its official journal.
The board also discussed spraying and cutting ditches and grass and cleaning up alleys.
The board agreed that anyone tearing down a building must have a permit.
The board gave two residents on Martin Luther King Street 30 days to clean up their property that has been condemned.
The board voted to abandon the old Ohio Street alley so Macon Ridge Community Development can build a new apartment complex on a portion of the alley, which McGlothin said has been empty for decades.
Representatives from J's Audio in Natchez asked about using the old Super 10 building on Louisiana Avenue and making it into a community hall with live entertainment and a place for receptions.
"When you call it a sports bar you are going to run into problems," McGlothin said.
The board set July 1-5 until 10 p.m. for firing off fireworks, except for on July 4 until 1 a.m.
The board approved the Miss Lou's Blues & Heritage Foundation Blues Festival being held on First Street on July 3.
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