September 14, 2008 Update
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
I hope you and your families are doing well.
On Monday, September 15 at 6:00 p.m., the city council will be considering for approval a proposed Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) and Sewer Service Area Map recommended by Fulton County. If these items are approved "as is," sewer service will be expanded into numerous areas of Milton not currently allowed by law.
As its name suggests, the proposed Sewer Service Area Map details which land lots may be given sewer service by Fulton County. The IGA gives the map the force of law and makes it binding. I encourage you to review and download both of these items from the City of Milton's website Click here=>http://www.cityofmiltonga.us/ . In order for the IGA to become legal, both governmental entities (the City of Milton and Fulton County) must approve it. Consequently, following the outcome of our meeting Monday night, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) plans to vote on the proposed IGA during its September 17 regular meeting. Click here http://mm1.co.fulton.ga.us/cache/00005/918/ag080917.pdf for agenda.
Last week, our city staff and attorney began work on an IGA and Sewer Service Area map of our own. On Friday afternoon, the council received the first version of this map. We received the IGA about 2:00 a.m. today (Sunday morning). Neither of these items have been posted on the City of Milton's website yet. A review of the map proposed by staff indicates that while we appear to be moving in the right direction with this new map, many questions remain.
Despite efforts by me and other council members to have consideration of these items moved to a special called work session in the near future, it appears that there is a majority of council members that want this issue to proceed on Monday night. This is unfortunate since the mayor and council members have had very limited time to carefully review the proposed maps and IGAs. Moreover, it is certain that you, the citizenry, have not had an opportunity to review the map and IGA recently proposed by our city staff and attorney.
As we approach tomorrow's nights meeting, I want to make my thoughts on this matter very clear to you:
I do not support sewer extension.
I support revising the IGA with Fulton County to clarify that sewer service can continue to be provided in areas where sewer service already exists or is allowed as specified in our 2006 No Interbasin Transfer Ordinance. Sewer service is currently provided (or allowed) in areas that are in the Big Creek Basin and that can gravity feed to either the Big Creek or John's Creek sewage treatment plants. In addition, certain land lots along Highway 9 are identified in the 2006 No Interbasin Transfer Ordinance as being sewerable.
Some have said that sewer service should be provided if sewer lines are already in the ground. Having sewer lines in the ground does not give a vested right to be provided with sewer service, especially if providing such service is a violation of our 2006 No Interbasin Transfer Ordinance. In addition, just because there may be sewer lines running to part of a certain land lot does not mean that all 40 acres of the land lot should be allowed to hook up to sewer.
Sewer service is currently being provided by Fulton County to certain locations in the Etowah Basin as well. To be clear, this sewer service was provided by Fulton County and not the City of Milton over the last several years. Each of these developments need to carefully considered and discussed to determine whether or not they should be allowed sewer. Obviously, developments that are nearly to fully complete and that have significant sewer infrastructure already in place should be considered differently than developments that have not broken ground yet. Each situation should be carefully reviewed by council so that we end up with a parcel specific map outlining where sewer is allowed. If we do not carefully review each situation and have clear language explaining the reasons why sewer is allowed in each case, we could set a negative precedent that could serve as the basis for legal action against our city in the future.
Given the fact that Fulton County allowed developments in the Etowah Basin to connect to sewer prior to the incorporation of the city, it is crucial from this point forward that the City of Milton not allow hookups to sewer in the Etowah Basin that are inconsistent with our 2006 No Interbasin Transfer Ordinance.
Given the importance of this issue, the potential for legal challenges in the future, and the lack of time the mayor, council members, and citizenry have had to carefully review and consider the proposed maps and IGAs, I think that consideration of these items Monday night is premature.
The great majority of Milton's citizens believe that prohibiting sewer expansion is critical to preserving the city's unique character. I share this position and will vote accordingly.
I consider it an honor to serve you. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. I encourage you to let the mayor and council members know how you feel about this and any other issue. Public comment is allowed during all of our meetings. In addition, our e-mail addresses can be found by clicking on the link below.
Council Member, District 6 (At Large)