Concordia courthouse upgrades enhance safety

Published 12:10am Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Vidalia — Concordia Parish Police Jury members approved Monday night a resolution to apply for grant funding to help pay for further renovations to the courthouse.

The police jury installed a security system in August that included 40 cameras with recording capability, three video screens, panic buttons and after-hours access cards for authorized personnel.

The jury plans to pay for those upgrades with a $73,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

Further renovations include a new elevator and a courtroom video system, among other things.

The cost to install the new elevator — $153,500 — makes up nearly half of the total $391,100 renovation costs.

Police Jury President Melvin Ferrington said the majority of the renovations are for security reasons.

“We’ll have the elevator there and metal detectors going during court days to help with emergency situations,” Ferrington said. “We’re continuing to work with the architects, judges and district attorney to figure out what exactly will help us.”

In other news from the meeting:

4A Concordia Parish resident pleaded to the jury in an attempt to help lower a nearly $2,000 water bill she received after a line broke at her Deer Park camp.

Mary Taylor told the board she received a call from her Deer Park neighbor recently saying her yard was completely underwater.

“Nobody knew a water line had broken because it was underwater, but we eventually went out there, saw it and fixed it,” Taylor said. “I received my bill last month from Concordia Water Works for $1,870, and it shocked me.”

Taylor said she explained her situation to the water company, but was told there was nothing she could do except pay the bill in installments.

“They told me I could pay $100 a month plus my water bill,” Taylor said. “That would take me years — I may be dead by then.”

Ferrington told Taylor there was nothing the board could do besides write the company a letter asking to excuse the bill because of the accidental situation. The board voted to write the company a letter.