By T. Scott Boatright
It’s no secret that the city of Grambling has dealt with issues concerning its water system for years.
But tensions over water issues nearly came to a boil during Thursday’s night monthly council meeting inside the Grambling Community Center/City Hall.
The issues arose when councilman Toby Bryan questioned why he was no longer seeing monthly reports from American Wastewater Management and why the most recent reports he had seen indicated the corporation was on a monthly contract as opposed to a five-year contract several council members said they also believed the service was under.
Grambling Mayor Edward Jones said he didn’t have the documentation available at that moment but that it would make it all available to council members in upcoming days.
“I’m not understanding how it is suddenly month-to-month,” Bryan said of the contract.
Jones responded by saying the situation wasn’t sudden.
“We’ve talked about some things we’ve been cited for and we felt that those things needed to be corrected,’ Jones said. “And so, during this time COVID came, and the (corporation) owner left the country. We thought that he would have been back in order to try to correct those deficiencies that we had, but he has not come back yet.
“That’s why we had to go month-to-month until he returned or try to get another company to maintain our water sewage.”
City attorney Pamela Breedlove then added to Jones’ comments.
“Because those things hadn’t been done the city exercised our rights to do that so that we could find somebody else because the job wasn’t being done,” Breedlove said.
The fact that the council felt it wasn’t notified of the change appeared to be troubling for at least a majority of members.
When Breedlove told the council the original contract had been terminated by the city, Bryan responded.
“No, it has not (been terminated),” Bryan said. “Because it has not come before the City Council. We didn’t council anything. The contract we know does not end until 2023.”
Breedlove told the council the termination notice was sent four to five months ago.
Jones promised to give the council the answers they needed while telling Bryan he didn’t believe the situation had been handled the way it should have been.
“I don’t have the answers because the paperwork is in my office,” Jones said. “If I had known this was coming up I would have had it ready. … My problem is, we talk to each other all the time. I wish you before the meeting had said, ‘Let me know about this, let me know about that.’ But to just bring it up, I think that’s unfair to me because the paperwork is in my office.
“If it’s something you haven’t been given in a year, or something you don’t like that I’m doing, don’t wait until you get to the meeting to bring it up. Tell me or let me correct it or tell you why I did it. But just to jump up at the meeting as though we don’t communicate during the month, I just find that … quite disrespectful.”