Board votes to overhaul water system

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 27, 2009

NATCHEZ — On Thursday evening the Ferriday Board of Aldermen voted to overhaul the town’s water system.

In approximately two weeks, the Triton Company, with which the town has contracted, will begin a $2.3 million project that includes new water meters for the town, new water tanks and a refurbishment of the town’s water existing plant.

But the vote to authorize the work was not unanimous.

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Alderman Elijah Banks and Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd voted against the ordinance that allows the project to begin.

Banks said he simply did not know enough about the project to vote for it.

Lloyd said she did not vote for the project because she did not think the town had enough money to fund the project.

“How can we afford this?” she said after the meeting.

Mayor Glen McGlothin, however, said the project will essentially pay for itself.

McGlothin said the town’s water system is in such disrepair that it is currently losing $300,000 a year.

Once the new system is up and running, the town will be able to collect the revenue it’s currently losing and fund the work.

“We’re going to use the money we’re losing,” he said.

McGlothin said once new water meters and the new billing system are installed, the town will be able to accurately bill its customers for usage.

Right now that’s not happening.

Alderwoman Summer Lance said she’s aware of one Ferriday resident that regularly fills her pool in the summer and pays only a flat rate of approximately $40 a month.

But Alderman Johnnie Brown said he has concerns the new meters will cause problems.

“People aren’t going to want to pay more,” he said.

McGlothin said while some residents and businesses will start seeing higher bills — they’ll be seeing accurate bills.

And once the town can accurately bill for water, they can collect the money to fund the new work.

McGlothin said work on the new system will start in approximately two weeks and could take three months to complete.

“But this is big for us,” he said. “This has been a problem for 20 years.”

In other news, District 21 Rep. Andy Anders was at Thursday’s meeting with an important letter from the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Services.

That letter said it is the intention of the department to keep Ferriday’s Human Services Building in Ferriday and not move it to Vidalia.

McGlothin said he was pleased with the news.

He said the building’s Ferriday locale better suits the needs of the community.