Explanation

RIDGECREST MAYOR Veller Ray Carroll discusses proposed water rates for the town during a meeting Tuesday night. (Photo by Joe Curtis)

Ridgecrest citizens will have to wait until July 21 to find out if water rates will increase due to aldermen not meeting a quorum at their regular meeting Tuesday.

Ridgecrest Alderwomen Mitzi Boyler and Darlene Humphries were not in attendance at the regular meeting. Humphries had a family emergency while no reason was given for Boyler’s absence. Alderwoman Deborah Barrett was in attendance.

Carroll, clearly frustrated by the absence of Boyler, threatened to contact Louisiana’s Ethic Board Wednesday on her absence.

A special meeting to discuss and possibly vote on water rates is scheduled for next Tuesday at 7 p.m.

“We got things that need to be done,” said Mayor Veller Ray Carroll. “We have got to approve a (water) rate study. We have got to sign paperwork on the grant or we may lose it.”

Ridgecrest was recently approved for a Louisiana Community Development Block Grant (LCDBG) worth nearly $1 million grant, but a water rate study must be approved before funding moves forward.

Grant money will be used to tie into the Ferriday water system alleviating Ridgecrest’s aging water plant which has been producing brown-tinted water.

Last week, Ridgecrest officials signed a three-year contract to purchase water from Ferriday at the price of $4.70 per 1,000 gallons with a $10,000 deposit. Ridgecrest will have an option to renew the contract after the first time period has expired for another three years.

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 years.

A water rate study has been performed at Ridgecrest and Carroll went over the possible figures with residents in attendance at the canceled meeting.

Under the rate study, Ridgecrest officials were given three options.

First option was for $64 for the first 1,000 gallons used and $4.85 per 1,000 gallons consumed after the minimum usage. The $64 includes sewer, garbage, fire department fee and a safe drinking water charge.

Second option was for $64 for the first 1,500 gallons used and $5.65 per 1,000 gallons consumed after the minimum usage. Again, the base $64 includes sewer, garbage, fire department fee and a safe drinking water charge.

Third option was for $64 for the first 2,000 gallons used and $6.80 per 1,000 gallons consumed after the minimum usage. Like the first two options, the base $64 includes sewer, garbage, fire department fee and a safe drinking water charge.

In next week’s special meeting, Carroll said he was going to recommend the second option.

Also on the July 21 agenda, will be a resolution of plans and policies for the LCDB grant, an item to amend a business license ordinance and an item to amend a dog limit ordinance.

If the business license amendment is approved, all business applications would be approved by aldermen.

The amendment is designed to bring aldermen into the business approval process and would require all current business owners to annually renew the occupational licenses.

Currently, Carroll is solely pegged to consider business applications.

June’s amendment introduction was met with adamant opposition by attendees, and Carroll promised to veto it in July’s meeting if pushed through.

The second amendment, if passed, would limit each Ridgecrest household to five dogs. This was also met with backlash from attendees in June’s amendment introduction.

According to the amendment, all violators of the ordinance would be punished by a fine of “not less than $10 or more than $200, and/or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days or both.”

If a dog owner has a litter of puppies resulting in more than five dogs, the owner would have until the puppies are 16 weeks to “once again adhere to the limited five dogs per ordinance.”

“How are we going to go around knocking on doors counting dogs,” Carroll said in the June meeting. “I’m not going to get shot over a dog. I think there should be a grandfather clause (in this amendment). I think we need to put an addition on it that says what you got now, you can have them.”

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