Ordinance could be adopted to fix water

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 26, 2009

FERRIDAY — After years of discussion and complaints, tonight could mark the beginning of the end of Ferriday’s water problems.

The board of aldermen will have a special meeting at 6 p.m. to adopt an ordinance that will allow the town to enter into a municipal lease with Triton Company to overhaul the town’s water system.

The council voted on a similar measure last fall, but the measure needs to be voted on again because the town was able to negotiate a lower interest rate for its bond, Mayor Glen McGlothin said.

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Likewise, the contract was altered so the town could opt-out of the contract early without having to pay penalties if it wanted to.

“That way, if some kind of local financing comes up that can lower the interest rate, we are going to go with that,” McGlothin said.

The overhaul of the system will begin with replacing the town’s current set of water meters with a standardized electronic meter system. Many of the existing meters are the wrong type for the customers, and others don’t work.

A recently released audit of the city stated that 56 of 60 water and sewer customers surveyed — including those believed to be significant consumers of water — only paid minimum bills.

Accurate billing is expected to generate $300,000 a year for the town.

The Triton contract would also result in a significant rehabilitation of the existing water plant, including the construction of two new water tanks to replace the deteriorating tank currently in place.

The total Triton-associated costs will be $2.3 million.

The town has plans to build a water retention pond outside the water plant to allow organic matter to fall out of the water before it enters the plant.

That will be built with a $1.3 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant outside the Triton contract.

Also on the agenda for tonight’s meeting is an appearance by District 21 Rep. Andy Anders and District 32 Sen. Neil Riser to discuss the possible move of the Human Services Building from Ferriday to Vidalia and what the legislators can do about it.

Opponents to the move have argued that Ferriday is centrally located in the parish, and that many Human Services clients in Ferriday would not be able to get transportation to Vidalia.