Ferriday water bill woes discussedPublished 12:04am Wednesday, October 10, 2012
FERRIDAY — The Ferriday aldermen and a representative from the town’s water system administrative company fielded questions and complaints Tuesday night from residents puzzled about adjustments made to their water bills.
Residents complained of suddenly high water bills — one mentioned a jump from $50 to $350 — and not understanding how billing was being done. In one instance, a customer said his church was receiving a monthly water bill for $150 even though the church had no meter tied into its water line.
Glen Womack, the owner of JCP Management, the company Ferriday has hired to administer its water system, fielded questions.
Womack said the company has been at work in the town since August, and the first month the company read all the water meters in order to get a benchmark reading for the future.
The next month, customers were billed based on a comparison of the new reading with the August reading.
“You were billed for the amount that went through the meter,” Womack said. “All we can go by is the reading on the meter.”
Womack said the first two months of administering the system have presented a number of challenges, including broken meters and residences with leaks.
“A lot of times we get there and the meter is spinning because there is a leak on the house side of the meter,” Womack said.
The town has approximately 200 meters that can’t be found, he said.
But the message Womack said he wanted to get across to individual customers is that if they have a problem with their bill, they should contact the town and file a complaint. Water customers who have lodged a complaint will not have their service turned off until the matter has been investigated, he said.
Mayor Gene Allen said the new bills were something to which residents were going to have to adjust.
“We are a few months away from installing new meters,” he said. “Once we get new meters installed everybody is going to have a water meter that works. The law says we have to read every meter.”
The state auditors stressed the importance of getting accurate readings on the meters to him last week, Allen said.
Alderwoman Gayle Pryor said residents have been told that the adjustment to their bills was coming.
“We told you five, six, seven months ago that we were getting new meters in and that once your new meters came in your water bill was going to go up,” she said. “You can take the hurt now or you can take the hurt then.”
In other news:
-The board had a special recognition for the Little Trojans peewee football and cheerleading squads.-
Allen said the football program was one of the best things the Ferriday community has.
“I have been to several games,” Allen said. “This is the most disciplined group I have seen in this community. The parents are there, (the children) do what they are supposed to do on the field, they do what they are supposed to do off the field, and they do what they are supposed to do during the game time.”
The mayor also commended the group coaches and parents for their active involvement in the lives of the children.
Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd said the Little Trojans program was a positive for the entire community.
“We should learn from the kids,” she said. “They play together and they don’t try to get out and backstab each other. I am proud of the girls and the boys.”
Allen said the teams’ photos would be kept in the Town Hall council chambers.
-The aldermen passed a resolution supporting the drainage millage that will be on Concordia Parish’s December ballot.
-The aldermen passed a resolution recognizing both Breast Cancer Awareness Week and Fire Prevention Week.
-The aldermen approved the drafting of a letter for Jerri Sue Tosspon to serve as the town’s bookkeeper and Miles Hopkins to serve as the town’s auditor.