Health officials may visit water plant today

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 1999

FERRIDAY, La. — State health officials should visit Ferriday’s water plant today to help determine whether a boil-water notice in effect for the town since Aug. 20 should be lifted, according to Mayor Odeal Montgomery.

&uot;That’s the last I heard,&uot;&160;Montgomery said after the Ferriday Town Council’s Tuesday meeting. Michael Cazes of the Louisiana Office of Public Health, however, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

The notice was issued because the plant kept shutting down due to operation and maintenance problems.

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To consider lifting it, health officials must check to see whether the plant is operating correctly and chlorinating its water properly and whether the amount of coliform bacteria exceeds state limits.

Crews have been working to repair and improve the plant ever since the notice was issued. Such improvements have included fixing such things as filters and chemical pumps, installing a new operations computer and checking electrical connections.

In its meeting, the council voted to issue up to $415,000 in revenue bonds to improve its water system. That, along with a $775,000 federal grant, will be used to install a floating water intake structure to take more magnesium out of the water the town gets from Old River.

Magnesium turns the town’s water brown and smelly, especially during times when Old River’s water level is low.

In addition, Councilwoman Dorothy Johnson asked that a special meeting be held to allow citizens to give their input on how the proceeds of a new 3/4-cent sales tax should be spent.

The tax, which should bring in about $315,000 a year, will start in January. When town officials asked legislators for permission to hold an election on whether to levy the extra tax, the officials said it would be used for the town’s police and fire departments.

But when voters passed the tax in October, the ballot said proceeds could be used for any lawful purpose.

For her part, Johnson believes that matching a $162,500 federal grant to hire new police officers and further improving the water plant are worthy uses of the money.

A study of each town department’s needs should be done to help determine where the tax proceeds should go but citizens should have input as well, Johnson said. However, no date was set for such a meeting.

Also in the meeting:

n Montgomery said the town would ask engineer Bryant Hammett – along with Baton Rouge developer Craig Smith and Buddy Spillers, president of the Macon Ridge Economic Development Region – to attend a council meeting to discuss a new sewer lift station for the Woodland area.

Both Macon Ridge and Smith want to build apartments on nearby Lincoln Road, which Hammett has said will overtax the town’s sewer system. Hammett has proposed that the town, Smith and Spillers each pay a third of the $77,250 cost of a new lift station and sewer main.

n Town Attorney John Sturgeon said the town has requested a trial date in Seventh Judicial District Court for its lawsuit against clothing manufacturer Kelly’s Kids.

The town is suing to break the company’s lease on an industrial building in Ferriday.

n Johnson requested that the town help find a new place for residents to pay their Louisiana Gas bills, since Ezy Pay is no longer accepting payments.

n The council voted to grant resident Terri Lewis an additional sewer tap to serve an addition to her house. The tap fee will be $175.

n The council voted to ask the Planning and Zoning Commission to review an occupational license application for a proposed business called Little Miss Bea’s.