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Ridgecrest residents and officials have their fingers crossed as a grant application to fund a tie in with Ferriday’s water plant will be hand delivered to the Office of Community Development in Baton Rouge on Thursday.

Keith Capdepon of Bryant Hammett & Associates will make the “special delivery.” Capdepon is lead engineer over the project.

The announcement was made at Ridgecrest’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday. 

The application is the first phase in the Louisiana Community Development Block Grant process in which 150 applicants are vying for $20 million. In this first stage, the 150 applicants will be cut to 60 applicants. The remaining applicants will then fill out the “full application,” Capdepon said.

Ridgecrest will know if it made it to the second phase by Aug. 30.

The final funding decisions will be made in April.

Currently, Ridgecrest has applied for USDA loan funds to tie in with Ferriday.

“If we get accepted for the USDA loan, they will obligate the money (for the tie in),” Capdepon said. “(With the obligated money) we can wait to see if we are funded from the block grant. If we don’t get the grant, we will still have the money from the USDA loan. If we do get the grant, USDA will de-obligate the money.”

Capdepon is hopeful for Ridgecrest’s chances in receiving funding from the block grant.

“The grant is competitive but with the situation we are in here and getting extra points for the tie in with another system, I am reasonably confident about our chances,” Capdepon said.

During the discussion, residents attending the meeting continued to raise concerns over the levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) found in Ferriday’s water.

Bids have been received by Ferriday officials on aerators for the water plant ponds, said Mike McGuffee, head operator with JCP Inc in response to the questions. Aerators should be installed and operating by late summer or early fall and should alleviate THM levels in Ferriday’s water.

THMs are the result of a reaction between the chlorine used for disinfecting tap water and natural organic matter in the water. At elevated levels, THMs have been associated with negative health effects such as cancer and adverse reproductive outcomes.

In a related matter, Ridgecrest water lines will be flushed Thursday in the areas of Vidalia, Cottonwood, Willow and Pecan streets, announced Mayor Veller Ray Carroll.

“This is the third time we will flush the lines,” Carroll said. “(The flushing) should do it good.”

Meanwhile, Ridgecrest residents are asked to keep their yards mowed and cleaned or face possible charges, said Police Chief Thomas Goad. 

Residents whose grass is higher than eight inches will receive a letter stating they have 10 days to cut it. If after 10 days the grass is not cut, residents may be charged by Ridgecrest $75 an hour at a minimum of two hours to cut the grass. If the resident does not pay, Ridgecrest will put a lien on their property taxes, according to the current ordinance.

On another front, Larry Lawrence attended his first meeting after being appointed by fellow aldermen to fill the vacancy left by Josh Wells and Connie Adair.  Wells and Adair resigned from their aldermen post last month.

Since Ridgecrest is classified as a village, only three aldermen are needed to have a quorum for their public meetings, according to Louisiana law §33:382.

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