Ferriday garbage rates may rise

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, February 13, 2013

FERRIDAY — Ferriday aldermen introduced an ordinance Tuesday to increase the monthly household garbage rates by a whopping 66 percent, raising a stink with residents at the meeting.The ordinance would increase household rates from $15 a month to $25 a month and business rates from $22 a month to $32 a month.

Mayor Gene Allen said after the meeting the purpose of the increase was to help the town pay its monthly trash bill.

“Last month’s bill for trash pickup the town paid was for $20,000, and we only collected $17,000,” Allen said. “We need to raise the rates, which hasn’t been done in a long time, in order to be able to pay the bill.”

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Audience members were quick to raise their hands for questions following the ordinance introduction, but Allen requested that all public comments be held until next month’s meeting. Time will be dedicated to public comment at the next board meeting before aldermen vote on the ordinance.

The increase, Allen said, was somewhat related to last week’s suspension of all garbage collection in the town by Waste Management because of a $200,616 past due bill, which he said was left over from the town’s previous administration.

Allen accepted a bid Monday morning from Delta Disposal of Ferriday to continue the town’s residential and business garbage collection.

The bid from Delta Disposal includes weekly collection, disposal and transportation for approximately 1,240 residents and 110 small businesses within the city limits for $9.45 per month, per unit.

The town’s previous contract with Waste Management, Allen said, was $13.72 a month for pickup twice a week.

Despite the cost savings of switching from twice a week to weekly pickup, Allen said the town needs to plan for next year’s garbage contract. The new deal with Delta Disposal expires on Dec. 31.

“That’s just a temporary contract, so we’re trying to set the rates thinking that after that date we’re going to go be with a different company or the same one, but under different circumstances,” Allen said. “That increase is going to help pay our bill every month.”

In other news from the meeting:

Aldermen Johnnie Brown updated the board on the town’s progress of securing a $5 million loan and $1.4 million grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to build a new water plant and upgrade the town’s water system infrastructure.

Brown said he, Allen and other town officials met with USDA representatives to discuss the steps needed for the town to meet the guidelines for the grant.

“They’re ready to cut some corners and help us get this money as soon as possible,” Brown said. “We’re just in the final steps of getting some paperwork submitted to the USDA before they sign off on it.”

One of the guidelines for the grant was to have a third-party company operate the town’s water system, which the town fulfilled by contracting JCP Management of Harrisonburg.

But the town’s contract with JCP Management is set to expire in April, and Allen requested the board give him permission to start advertising bids for a new third- party company to manage the water system.

The board approved Allen’s request under the condition that copies of any bids received be distributed to all board members.

Another guideline included having working water meters in every household and business around town.

Once all the final paperwork is submitted to the USDA, Allen said the town will begin advertising for bids for the water meters and move forward with the new water system.