Jurors address water plant complaints

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; Complaints made by customers of Concordia Waterworks District No. 1 were addressed during a Monday meeting of the Concordia Parish Police Jury.

Jack McLemore, attorney for the waterworks district, appeared before the jury to address customer complaints, including the following:

4That an installation charge of $275 per water meter is too expensive. The cost of installing the meters can run as high as $858, McLemore said.

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4That the district’s policy of charging a $115 deposit per water meter for those moving into a house with an existing meter is unfair.

The district has to charge a certain amount in order to pay back loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, McLemore said.

&uot;There’s even a possibility that rates could go higher&uot; because the USDA requires rates to stay at a certain level as a requirement for making a loan, he said.

4That employees are rude to customers. Workers who were rude would be disciplined, but often it’s the other way around, McLemore said. &uot;They curse, call (workers) all kinds of names, jump and scream,&uot; he said.

4That workers don’t actually read all meters.

&uot;I can’t promise that all employees do what they’re supposed to all the time,&uot; McLemore said, but employees are supposed to read meters instead of just estimating usage.

Juror Gene Allen questioned McLemore as to why construction of a new water plant cost $1.5 million more than originally anticipated. McLemore said that cost was due to steps need to remove color from the water.

The district might actually make up that cost in the future by pumping its water to other districts including, possibly, the Town of Ferriday, McLemore said.

Juror Charlie Blaney pointed out that the district needed a new water plant, even at that cost, because its existing water wells are running dry and have been in a state of emergency for years.

&uot;At least eight or nine years,&uot; said system Manager Charles Renfrow, who attended Monday’s jury meeting.