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Management of Ferriday water may change hands

FERRIDAY — A new management company may soon take over the Town of Ferriday’s water operations after the current manager missed the deadline to turn in a bid.

The Ferriday Board of Alderman opened a sealed bid Tuesday from G.E.N.T’s Enterprises LLC of Baton Rouge. The company’s bid was the only one received by the deadline Monday. A bid from JCP Management, the town’s current management company, came in at 11:20 a.m. Tuesday.

Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd made a motion to reject JCP’s bid because it didn’t met the deadline.

JCP Management was chosen to operate the Ferriday water plant after the USDA required a third party operator in order for the town to secure federal loan funding to build a new plant. The town signed a one-year contract with JCP April 17, 2012.

The bid from G.E.N.T’s offered the town a rate of $18.75 per month, per customer. With 1,585 estimated customers in the town, the estimated rate the company provided town officials was $356,625, which also included salaries for employees at the plant and maintenance costs.

Part of the terms and conditions of Ferriday’s request for proposal (RFP) for a new water management company stated that all bids would be evaluated using a grading point system, which ranks the proposals in categories such as qualified personnel, monthly fixed rates, hourly repair rates and prior experience operating similar systems.

The board voted to take the bid under advisement in order to evaluate the company using the point system.

“We’re going to read these bids, give them the grade and make a decision from there,” said Mayor Gene Allen. “Once we’ve done that, we can make a decision to go with this company or not.”

Allen said if town officials were not satisfied with the grade the Baton Rouge company receives, JCP would continue operating the water plant past April 17 — the day the one-year contract is slated to expire — while the town re-advertises for bids.

While Allen said he was confident board members would make a decision on the bid before April 17, he also said that if no decision was made by that time that JCP would also continue operating the plant.

In other news from the meeting:

4Alderman Johnnie Brown presented the board with a proposal to, hopefully, solve the town’s ongoing garbage collection debt.

The board introduced an ordinance in February to increase household rates from $15 a month to $25 a month and business rates from $22 a month to $32 a month. The town was seeking to raise rates to help pay its more than $200,000 delinquent trash collection bill.

The proposal outlined costs and revenues from the town’s current emergency contract with Delta Disposal, which ends December 31, and compared those figures to the possibility of the town running its own disposal and collection.

“At one point we had our own garbage trucks and did it ourselves, and I don’t know what happened to that, but I think we can do this cheaper than what we’re being priced,” Brown said. “We were collecting about $17,000 a month and paying out $22,000 and that just doesn’t work.

“We have to come up with a way to make this work.”

The two proposals included pickup twice a week for an estimated 1,350 customers. The first proposal listed a $15 rate per customer, while the second listed a $20 rate.

After factoring in expenses, a lease for their own garbage trucks, fuel, dumping fees, labor cost and insurance, the first proposal netted the town $8,025.25 a month. The second proposal estimated $14,775.25 in monthly revenues.

Allen said the proposal would be discussed at a public hearing that would be scheduled for sometime next month.