Ferriday Mayor Rydell Turner told aldermen Thursday that the town has been approved for a $1.4 million capital outlay grant to replace water pipes in the town.
The town’s meeting was held via Zoom after the previous two meetings scheduled for Ferriday Hall were postponed due to a lack of a quorum.
Aldermen voted unanimously to enter a resolution to accept the grant money, and will vote on the resolution at the next meeting.
Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd asked if the town would have to put up any money.
"No," Turner said. "We needed to have this done earlier, but the state understood we had two aldermen dealing with COVID-19 and was very understanding."
The money will be used only to replace water pipes, and a couple of fire hydrants, he said.
Turner, Rev. James Smith and Clint Vegas attended a meeting in Baton Rouge concerning the grant on Jan. 27.
"Mayor Turner did a great job representing the town," Smith said. "Ferriday will not have to pay any money on this. The problem has been that the town has 2-inch and 4-inch water pipes where they need 6-inch pipes. As soon as this gets passed we can get started on the paperwork, and should be able to begin work on this project this year."
Smith also said the town will receive an SUV for the police department and SUV for the fire department through a USDA grant. Those funds should be received by the end of this month, town officials said.
"This is what happens when we all work together," Turner said. "I appreciate the board's cooperation. We are all here for the betterment of Ferriday."
The board also discussed salaries of the police chief, fire chief, street supervisor and town clerk.
Turner said all salaries would remain the same except for Town Clerk Sharon Kelly, who would be bumped up to $15 an hour, or $30,000 a year.
Alderman Elijah "Stepper" Banks made the motion to approve the salaries, but it originally died for a lack of a second.
Aldermen Andre Keys and Gail Pryor said they had not seen a financial statement regarding the salaries.
"I want to see if we can afford this," Keys said.
"I would not put this town in jeopardy," Turner said.
Banks said it's the mayor's job and he has gone over the budget.
"There is nothing to fuss about here," Banks said.
Pryor said the aldermen could have been emailed or faxed information concerning the proposed salaries.
"I don't have enough information given to me," Pryor said.
Turner stressed the only change would be a 57-cent raise for Kelly, who puts in a lot of time as clerk.
"Do we really have to elaborate over 57 cents?," Turner asked. "This is not complicated."
Turner said the town was paying former police chief (Arthur Lewis) $40,000. Herman Curry as interim police chief was paid $39,312.
Banks offered the motion again to approve the salaries, Pryor seconded the motion, and it was approved unanimously.
Curry has been serving as interim police chief, but alderman twice rejected Turner’s proposal to name Curry police chief.
Keys asked about Curry.
"We have moved on from that," Turner said. "This is not on the wish list. He will no longer be suggested for chief."
Keys said he had other thoughts on Curry.
Banks asked about revisiting the police chief position.
"It's over with," Turner said. "We've moved on."
Curry no longer works for the Ferriday Police Department.
"I was surprised I was let go," Curry said. "I thought we were working toward the same goal. But it's all worked out and I'm good."
The board also discussed cleaning up the town, starting over the area of the railroad tracks and then moving into town. A boom truck will be used in the clean-up work.
The town is also waiting on a good weather day to have a clean-up day for Ferriday.
The board also talked about the Waste Pro garbage contract, which expires in March.
"We need to get with our attorney and make a decision," Turner said.