Ferriday water customers must pay up

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 18, 2010

FERRIDAY — Come June 21, Ferriday water customers will have to have their bills paid up.

That’s when a grace period for those with delinquent water bills will run out and the town will start shutting off water service to those customers.

Mayor Glen McGlothin said the issue came up with the town’s auditors and certified public accountants when they started preparing the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

In the past, the town has worked out payment plans with people, but the state audit has in the past cited the town for having outstanding water bills.

“You can’t run a utility company without paying the bills,” McGlothin said.

To prepare people for the switch in policy, the town has sent out messages and even left door hangers to let people know that they have to have their bills paid by June 21.

The problem with the old system, in which the town would allow people a payment plan for their late water services, was simply that some people wouldn’t abide by the plan, the mayor said.

“Some folks you would try to help and they will do what they need to do, and some folks don’t,” he said.

The policy the town will start enforcing is one that was already in place but never used.

“If you are over 15 days late, we have never done so before, but now we are unfortunately going to have to cut (service) off,” McGlothin said.

“We are a poor town, and folks are struggling, but if you let folks get too far behind they can never pay it. You aren’t helping anybody when you do that.”

Implementing the policy before the new budget starts is important, and the town has to get everything in order before it will be able to get a $7 million grant to build a new water plant, he said.

“All the billing has to be done right if we are going to get things in order,” he said.