Several Ferriday residents approached the aldermen Tuesday night about sewage problems in town, especially around Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia streets.
Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd and Alderman Andre Keys were present at the meeting, while Alderwoman Brandi Bacon was on Mayor Rydell Turner’s speakerphone to make a quorum. Alderwoman Gail Pryor and Alderman Elijah “Stepper” Banks were absent.
Derrick Carson, Lillie Birdon, Ethel Rosenthal and Rhonda Bradford said they have sewage in their yards, and it is even worse when it rains.
“It’s embarrassing and frustrating,” Birdon said.
Turner said he plans to use COVID-19 Stimulus Package money the town received to go towards repairing sewer lift pumps.
The town recently received its second and final payment of $592,503.50 last week.
Ferriday Executive Administrative Assistant Emerson Slain said representatives with Louisiana Rural Water Association will be in Ferriday next week to run smoke tests from Virginia to Kentucky streets, and 10th to 7th streets to see which pipes need repairing.
“If smoke comes up, the sewer line will need replacing,” Slain said.
“There are so many streets and alleyways that we need to identify,” Turner said. ”Once we do I will contact Womack and Louisiana Rural Water. Right now we’re at the mercy of both of them. But sewage is our first priority.”
Residents also complained about leaking fire hydrants.
Ferriday Fire Chief Carmen Evans said some of the fire hydrants are not being tightened properly after being repaired by JCP
“I have reported all leaks to them,” Evans said. “And some of the caps are loose after they work on them. If that cap comes flying off while we’re fighting a fire at night, it would be like a bullet.”
Turner said he will sit down with the aldermen and discuss ways to address the sewage issues.
“I’m also looking at grants,” Turner said. “Replacing pumps will cost about 40-something thousand dollars.”
Turner said a lot of things have been neglected for years and years.
“It’s an ongoing problem,” he said. “We’re trying our best identify these problems and fix them. Our pumping stations are horrific and dilapidated. The first thing we need to do is implement the pumps and get things going. We have a major problem.”
Keys also added that town employees are not doing their jobs.
“Supervisors need to go out and make them do their jobs,” Keys said. “Work orders are being done, but the work is not being done. It’s ridiculous people getting paid and not doing their jobs. That’s causing problems for you, Mayor.”
“If my workers can’t do the job, they need to go,” Turner said. “I cannot do everything.”
Lloyd expressed her dismay with not receiving financial statements since March.
“You’re getting yourself in trouble,” Lloyd told Turner.”And you are doing all this spending without board approval
Town Clerk Marchelle Donnelly, who was not present at the meeting, said at last month’s meeting the town CPA (Michelle Ferguson) has not reconciled bank statements.
“I can give you a report, but it’s not going to be accurate until she does her job,” Donnelly said.
Lloyd also presented a motion to not allow cash events at Ferriday Hall, which was passed unanimously.
“We are renting Ferriday Hall for $650, and there was an event where they were selling tickets for $25 and made $25,000 on it,” Lloyd said.
Keys also addresed problems with town auditor The Vercher Group.
“They are not doing their job,” Keys said. “We are so much out of compliance.”
Keys then addressed issues he has with Donnelly, who was not at Tuesday’s meeting.
”There is no excuse when I request an order for this, this and this in writing, and it fails to get done,” Keys said. “It lets me know she’s not doing her job. I don’t know what it’s going to take, but if we need to get rid of her, it’s OK by me. She has to tighten up. The legislative auditor knows what’s going on.”