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Santa Rosa, Milton To Partner On Wastewater Plant

City of Milton

With the clock ticking toward Dec. 31, 2023, Santa Rosa County commissioners on Tuesday voted to give $500,000 to the city of Milton for the city's wastewater treatment plant.

The unanimous vote, District 2 Commissioner Bob Cole was absent, followed discussions Monday between County Administrator Dan Schebler, Milton City Manager Randy Jorgensen and the Milton City Council.

The $500,000 is from money given to the county under the COVID-19 American Rescue Plan. The money would be used to move the plant to East Milton, including site preparation and studies. Construction could begin this year.

Jorgensen told commissioners the city-county partnership had a "sense of urgency" because of the 2023 deadline. That's because the city must get half of its wastewater discharge out of the Blackwater River by that date, and that the city's current plant was reaching capacity.

District 5 Commissioner Colten Wright said the county contribution would move the process quickly.

"Getting it farther away from the river is a good idea," he said.

Commissioners Sam Parker, Chairman Dave Piech and District 3 Commissioner James Calkins also voted to form the partnership.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved lowering the speed limit from 40 mph to 30 mph on East Spencerfield Road and adding message boards advising about the change. Several Pace residents spoke of the around-the-clock speeding on East Spencerfield Road and the danger to pedestrians and other drivers, and the damage to mailboxes and waste containers along the road. District 1 Commissioner Sam Parker said he would also consider other traffic "calming" devices to slow traffic in the area.
  • Approved giving the Town of Jay $23,223 to assist with improvements at Bray Hendricks Park. That money followed Calkins' presentation of $27,777 to the town from his discretionary funds. When Piech pointed out the county's allocation was unusual, Calkins explained that his check had four "7s" because "seven is the Lord's number."
  • Recommended a "favorable" rating as part of the county's input to reappoint Dr. Deanna A Oleske as the District 1 Medical Examiner.
  • Approved the auction of "surplus" items, including vehicles. The items will be auctioned online by Bidilla Inc., Global Auction Services.
  • Tabled a decision to give law enforcement the OK to provide warnings to "individuals who are located at County facilities and not there for any legitimate public business and to remove those individuals if they fail to obey such warnings." There was discussion among commissioners and several members of the public the authorization letter was vague or could result in "government overreach" by law enforcement. The matter could be discussed again at the board's next meeting.