Ferriday discusses condemned properties

Published 12:39 am Wednesday, August 15, 2007

FERRIDAY — The owners of 15 condemned properties in Ferriday will have to show cause at the next town council meeting that their structures should not be demolished.

The town council voted Tuesday to send letters to notify the owners of several properties city inspectors identified as needing to be condemned.

Town inspectors identified 12 of the buildings, and town council members added three more properties to the list.

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If the owners of the properties can show cause as to why their properties should not be destroyed, the town will not condemn them, Mayor Gene Allen said.

The buildings were placed on the list because they were unsafe, but only one of them is currently occupied, Town Clerk Shannon Beatty said.

The council also asked Police Chief Richard Madison to address them about police patrol levels and crime prevention.

“Do we have the financial ability to have three officers on patrol at night and four on the weekend?” Alderman Johnny Brown said.

The mayor has discussed hiring two more officers with him, Madison said.

Those two new officers would be specifically for night and weekend patrols, he said.

“I have a plan laid out right now that puts three officers plus myself on patrol on the weekend,” Madison said.

The police department focuses on traffic and crime prevention, Madison said.

“During (the last three years), we have not seen one traffic fatality in Ferriday,” he said.

Another program the department has recently implemented is a patrol where officers check businesses during the night and leave business owners a card under the door to let them know their business was checked.

“They — the business owners — think it is a great program,” he said. “If one shift misses it, I get a call and the business owner will ask, ‘Where is my card?’”

Having crime-prevention education out in the community is key, Madison said.

“We have two police on shift, but we have many more eyes in the community,” he said.

The town is also looking at a grant to buy and install a camera system so the police can see different locations in the town from the police department, Madison said.

One recommendation Madison made to the board was they lower the town curfew to 8 p.m. on school nights.

“It is important these students be at home studying,” he said.

In other business:

4The council voted to re-advertise for bids to buy a new dump truck with a $35,000 grant.

The town had accepted a bid from Scott Truck and Tractor in Monroe, but the truck had been sold by the time the bid was accepted.

The council then voted to accept the second lowest bid, but it had also been sold by that time.

4Alderman Johnny Brown asked if it was feasible for the town to purchase a wood chipper to remove old branches and leaves.

Allen said he would find out more information.

4After an inquiry about economic development initiaves in the parish, Allen said a businessperson was looking to start construction of a strip mall in Ferriday in about 90 days, and other businesses — including a hotel — were looking at the city.

Allen declined to state who the interested parties are in open meeting.