Mayor vetoes Ferriday board’s vote for water management contract

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ferriday — Mayor Gene Allen vetoed a decision by Ferriday alderman Monday to accept a bid from a Baton Rouge company hoping to run the town’s water operations.

At a specially called meeting Monday requested by Alderman Elijah “Stepper” Banks, the board discussed the bid from G.E.N.T’s Enterprises LLC, which was the only company to submit a bid by the deadline last week. A bid from JCP Management, the town’s current management company, came in late.

The board opened a sealed bid from the company last week and voted to take the bid under advisement.

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Banks made a motion to accept the bid, and Alderman Johnnie Brown made a second, Allen said.

“There were several questions raised when I asked the board if they had any questions,” Allen said. “The lawyer raised some questions, and it got a little heated.”

Banks, Brown and Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd voted to accept the bid, Allen said.

Alderwomen Sandra Pryor and Somer Lance voted against accepting the bid with Allen ultimately vetoing the motion to accept.

“We just don’t have any information about them, and we didn’t have enough to time to vet G.E.N.T.’s,” Allen said. “The full board hasn’t had a chance to vet the company, and I didn’t think it should happen like that.”

The bid from G.E.N.T’s offered the town a rate of $18.75 per month, per customer. With 1,585 estimated customers in the town, the total estimated rate the company provided town officials was $356,625, which also included salaries for employees at the plant and maintenance costs.

Allen said JCP would continue to operate the town’s water plant past the contract deadline, which is today.

JCP Management was chosen to operate the Ferriday water plant after the USDA required a third party operator in order for the town to secure federal loan funding to build a new plant. The town signed a one-year contract with JCP April 17, 2012.

Allen said the bid from G.E.N.T’s would be discussed at the board’s next monthly meeting in May.