Rising water rates rile many Ferriday residents

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 3, 2001

FERRIDAY, La. – Rising water rates are already getting a rise out of Ferriday residents and businesses – even though the federal government has given the town no choice but to raise its rates.

&uot;It’s just ridiculous,&uot; said Debra Wilson, who buys bottled water but still uses town water for such things as bathing and washing dishes. &uot;They ought to give us a price break, since the water was bad for so long.&uot;

Wilson was referring to a 124-day boil water notice that was in effect for the town’s 1,460-plus water customers in late 1999.

The Ferriday Town Council is set to approve the rate increases in its June 12 meeting. Starting immediately, rates for residential customers will rise from $10 to $16.30 for the first 2,000 gallons. Each additional 1,000 gallons will cost $2.70.

For business customers, the first 20,000 gallons will cost $60.40 per month – more than double the current rate of $30.

The U.S. Farmers Home Administration is requiring the town to raise its rates by that amount to help it pay $362,000 the agency gave loaned the town in July 1999 to help improve the town’s water plant, Mayor Glen McGlothin said.

Still, customers like Helen Spencer say an increase does not make sense.

&uot;For it to go up for what we get is ridiculous,&uot; Spencer said. &uot;I bought a $300 water filter, and it’s actually got mud it in now. And they expect us to drink that.&uot;

Alderman Sammy Davis Jr. said he has gotten &uot;many&uot; calls about the rate increases since they were announced Wednesday.

&uot;That’s the way people feel, and it’s justified,&uot; Davis said. Still, with escalating costs, he said, &uot;the rates probably should have been raised years ago.&uot;

Jimmy Buford, manager of Ferriday Beauty and Barber Shop, said that shop pays a flat rate of $75.90 every month, so the rate increases probably won’t effect his business.

&uot;Still, it seems like the rates are too high already,&uot; he said.