Community outraged Governor declare emergency in Clayton

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CLAYTON, La, (KNOE) - The town of Clayton's water operator has stopped working on the water system here, which has the governor's office stepping in.

Now people are upset saying this is an issue city leader should have fixed.

People in Clayton coming together today hoping to fix a decades-long issue, the quality of the town's water.

"It's been a problem since I been living here with mom and daddy with the water situation for years," said Judy Crews, a Clayton resident

Governor John Bel Edwards declared an emergency in Clayton on Friday after the water operator JCP management stopped operating the town's water system. The governor's office says without declaring an emergency, people who demand on the water system would face a possible health threat.

Mayor Josephine Washington says the town can't pay JCP.

"JCP is working on an emergency situation. Which does not alleviate the town of Clayton having to pay for all the finances that are going to happen. It's just to keep the town with
safe drinking water," said Washington.

Others who live here say money isn't the only issue.

"If the mayor would answer some questions and work with her board, I think the town would be better because the board could communicate with the residents and the residents would know what we to do and be better informed on what's going on," Valine Atkins, a Clayton resident said.

During the community meeting on Saturday, Mayor Washington talked with a small group concerning the emergency declaration but refused to answer other
questions.

"Do you think there's some sort of disconnect between the mayor and the alderman, the alderman and the residents and the mayor and the town?" KNOE asked Kevin Mitchell who's on the Board of Alderman for Clayton.

"We're just trying to make sure there isn't," He said.

The mayor plans to talk with legislative auditors on Monday to discuss the next steps.

The town is discussing raising the water rates to help with the town's finances.