° empty

Ferriday alderman pushing for new farmer’s market

FERRIDAY — Farmer’s markets are popping up all over the Miss-Lou.

A third area farmers market, in Ferriday, may soon compete with markets in Natchez and Vidalia.

Alderman Elijah Banks asked Mayor Gene Allen about hosting a farmer’s market in Ferriday during the June 18 board meeting. Allen said he liked the idea, but asked Banks to draft a plan.

On Thursday, Banks met with Allen to present a letter, calling for a special board meeting to consider spending $6,000 on the proposed July 6 farmer’s market.

“You got to spend money if you really want to make money,” Banks said. “We are going to spend the money to make fliers and promote the farmer’s market.”

A letter, addressed to mayor Allen, said the $6,000 would also include door prizes.

The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

The 2013-2014 budget projects a $281,405 surplus, but Allen said Ferriday should focus on paying outstanding bills rather than creating a farmer’s market.

“I know the budget says we will have a surplus, but paying for the farmer’s market isn’t a possibility,” Allen said. “We will amend the budget several times and will end up not having a surplus by the time it’s through. We have more important bills to pay than paying for a farmers market.”

Ferriday owes approximately $200,000 to Waste Management. The bill accumulated after Ferriday residents failed to pay monthly trash bills. As a result, Waste Management suspended pickup service.

“We could wipe out the whole surplus just paying the trash bill,” Allen said. “I’d also like to spend money on fixing the roads. Doing all of that could easily wipe out the extra with just a few roads.”

North Ferriday also needs funds to fix dilapidated infrastructure, he said.

Allen said the water lines on the north side are outdated and must be fixed immediately after the city accepts a bid for its water contract.

As an alternative to shelling out $6,000 for farmer’s market festivities, Allen said the city would provide a location to host the market, bathrooms and electricity.

“We are going to have to pay the utility bill for turning on the lights and water and we paid for the building,” he said. “That seems like enough to me.”

Allen proposed hosting the market at Rockabilly Plaza. Banks prefers to host it at the former Haney’s Big House.

Banks said he isn’t satisfied with Allen’s plan.

“We can achieve a good turnout if we spend money,” he said. “I talked to at least 25 to 30 people that all said they are going to come. We have enough money to pay for everything.”

The board will decide whether to pay for the market at the July 2 meeting.