The Ferriday Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a sewer rate increase after several months of discussion.
At a special meeting two months ago, the board approved an ordinance to raise sewer rates from $16.50 to $17.50 for residential while raising the usage rates on the two prisons on Hwy. 15. The town has 970 residential connections, 134 commercial connections and the two prisons.
The commercial flat rate on sewage was increased from a flat rate of $25 a month to $50 a month for the first 2,000 gallons and $2.50 per 1,000 gallons after that, which prompted opposition from some audience members.
Ferriday aldermen Glen Henderson and Gail Pryor said they talked with Ken Terry with Louisiana Rural Water Association, who said most small businesses would not exceed the $50 flat rate, compared to businesses like the prison and Riverland.
The rate increase became a need after a Louisiana Community Development Block Grant sewer grant was awarded to the town two years ago after a recent audit was approved.
The $354,761 grant will be used to build new lift stations on Fudickar and Concordia Avenue.
"We keep talking about re-visiting and re-visiting, but if we don't do something the USDA is not going to give us a grant," said alderwoman Gloria Lloyd.
Ferriday Mayor Sherrie McMahon said she has been told that another town is on standby to receive grant money promised to Ferriday if the board did not set a rate increase.
The board unanimously approved the increase and a resolution to accept the LCDGB grant.
McMahon said she would invite the town’s water management company and USDA representatives to the September meeting to address questions from citizens.
The board also agreed on a lease for the former Ferriday Oil and Seed building of $1,000 a month and leasing an office building in Ferriday Plaza that once belonged to Dr. John O'Brien for $700 a month.
Rydell Turner advised the board that grants and loans are available for anyone 62 yards and older who make $25,000 or less. Those eligible can come by 201 N. E.E. Wallace from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to apply.