Ridgecrest Mayor Veller Ray Carroll called for the resignation of aldermen Mitzi Boyler and Darlene Humphries after the duo failed to attend the village’s regular meeting Tuesday night.
The meeting was canceled due to a lack of a quorum.
Topping the meeting’s agenda was a public hearing for Ridgecrest’s water rate study, a crucial step in the village receiving a $1 million Louisiana Community Development Block Grant (LCDBG). The grant would bankroll the tie in with Ferriday’s water system giving citizens drinkable water.
Before the meeting, Carroll’s phone calls to Boyler went unanswered.
A visibly frustrated Carroll said there were “papers should’ve been signed tonight. This is going to put us in a bind.”
Carroll said aldermen had until Sept. 1 to approve the water rate study or possibly lose the Louisiana Community Development Block grant.
“I’ve had enough,” Carroll said. “I’m asking the public to get behind me. I’m calling the state tomorrow (Wednesday), and I hope they are going to appoint somebody. I hope they appoint somebody that will step up and attend these meetings. I’ve had enough. Either they go or I go.”
Alderwoman Deborah Barrett, who attended the meeting via phone, voiced her support of Carroll’s decision.
“I’m behind you,” Barrett said. “They knew we had to have this (meeting).”
Boyler and Humphries also were absent at July’s regular meeting causing Ridgecrest officials to call a special meeting the next week. At the special meeting, the water rate study was introduced, opening lines for a public hearing.
According to the Louisiana Rural Water Association study, residents would pay a rate of $64 for the first 1,500 gallons used and $5.65 per 1,000 gallons consumed after the minimum usage.
On the commercial side, a water rate of $45 for the first 1,500 gallons used and $5.65 per 1,000 gallons consumed after the minimum usage will also be introduced at the August public hearing.
In June, Ridgecrest officials signed a three-year contract to purchase water from Ferriday at the price of $4.70 per 1,000 gallons and a $10,000 deposit.
The deposit will be paid over three years at a rate of $140 per month during the first three years and $140 per month during the second three-year span. Ridgecrest will also have the option to renew the contract after the first time period has expired for another three years.
Meanwhile, Carroll said he would approve a Womack & Sons’ contract to replace a sewer lift station on Vidalia Road. The contract was worth approximately $14,500 and would be funded through a grant Ridgecrest received last year.
After the meeting failed due to a lack of a quorum, Carroll spoke with citizens in attendance who were also clearly upset about the aldermen’s absence.
“I need somebody who is going to work with me and show up for meetings,” Carroll said. “Now that we didn’t have this public hearing, we have to do it again.”
A special Aug. 20 meeting was scheduled for a possible public hearing for the water rate study.