Ferriday won’t move on water contract yet

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, June 19, 2012

FERRIDAY — The Ferriday Board of Aldermen left a meeting Monday without taking any action, stating they would wait until the new mayoral administration takes office before deciding to amend a contract with the town’s water management service.

In a letter sent to aldermen Friday, outgoing Mayor Glen McGlothin informed the aldermen he had recently met with representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, engineering firm Bryant Hammett and Associates and JCP Management, the third party management company the town has chosen to operate the Ferriday water plant.

The third party operator was a requirement by the USDA for the town to secure loan funding to build a new water plant. The plant project is in the planning stages.

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“It was recommended by USDA and others that JCP Management should be given a three-year contract with the Town of Ferriday,” McGlothin’s letter stated. “The reason for this is simple: it’s going to take them at (least) three years to place new meters down and get a new water plant built. Time is also needed to run and maintain (the) plant to ensure good water and proper maintenance.”

At the council meeting Monday, however, when the topic was brought up, no alderman made a motion to amend the contract.

“I told the aldermen, ‘If we are not going to do anything, why don’t we adjourn this meeting?’” McGlothin said.

Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd made the motion and Alderwoman Gayle Pryor seconded it.

Alderman Elijah “Steppers” Banks said after the meeting that some of the language in the contract had been changed, and the aldermen wanted to wait until the new mayoral administration came in before renewing the contract.

“The board would like to see the next administrator make that decision,” Banks said. “(The contract) was for one year at a time, so they want to upgrade it for three years, but the board decided to let it run the way it was. We weren’t saying we were going to let it lapse.”

Mayor-elect Gene Allen said he was at the meeting Monday but didn’t have enough information about the contract to comment.

While Allen said that as mayor he has the right to advise the council of what he thinks is best, decisions about contracts ultimately lie with the aldermen.

“I would just be the signatory on the document,” Allen said. “If they tell me to sign it, I won’t have any choice to sign it. But I would have the attorney look at it, and I would tell them if I didn’t think it was in the best interest of the people of Ferriday.”

Banks said he believed the aldermen would extend the contract one year at a time.