Walton County Commissioners voted Monday to help Brandon Oaks residents out of their sewage predicament.
County Administrator Larry Jones recommended to commissioners that the city of Freeport send out a letter to all residents of the subdivision advising them of mandatory hookup to sewer, and use $45,000 held in an escrow account to convert 14 homes with failing tanks as soon as possible.
"We need to move forward," said Commission Chair Cecilia Jones.
County Attorney Sidney Noyes advised commissioners that the earliest those 14 could be hooked up would be 90 days and the first order of business would be for the county to send the city of Freeport a letter giving them the authority to send the letters.
Realtor David Kramer said he has sold two properties in Brandon Oaks recently and neither has septic. One of the new owners is a young firefighter with young children and would be in need of options for financing hook-up costs.
District 5 Commissioner Tony Anderson told Kramer that he would need to talk to city of Freeport as Brandon Oaks is their franchise.
Scott DeCandia is a resident of Bay Grove Road who questioned why the county is bending over backwards to fix Brandon Oaks when there are four or five homes on Bay Grove that were impacted by the failed septic systems.
"Our system has been tested and it has e. coli in it ... but we are being ignored. I would like to have my back yard back. It is a swamp now with tadpoles," he said. "And why are sewage tap fees so expensive?"
Again, Anderson said the county is not the franchise owner and he should direct his questions to the city of Freeport.
Greg Graham of Public Works told commissioners the system downstream is not a county system and presents a challenge.
"We need the assistance of the neighborhood to gain easements to work on and maintain systems," he said.
The initial 14 systems that are in dire need will be paid for out of the developers’ escrow account instead of county funds.