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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Sep. 9, 2019 4 months ago

City, OBTS need to come together on septic issue

City has no ulterior motive, letter writer says
by: Guest Writer

Dear Editor:

I have been giving County Councilwoman Heather Post the benefit of the doubt regarding some of her recent votes such as voting against allowing dogs in designated outside areas of restaurants in unincorporated Volusia County and voting against the additional emergency medical services positions in the county budget. But after attending her two Town Hall meetings recently, I can no longer support her actions.

To me, she fanned the flames of a rumored ulterior motive of the Ormond Beach City Commission of back-handedly pushing for annexation of Ormond by the Sea into the city under the guise of the septic to sewer initiative for the north peninsula. Unless I missed it, she did not explain that the city’s Utility Service District includes the north peninsula and the city is responsible for the water and waste management of that area. State statutes specifically allow cities to go outside of their boundaries to provide utilities. The city of Ormond Beach passed the ordinance identifying their Utility Service District in 1979. Her repeated theme was that she has been left “out of the loop.” City Commissioner Dwight Selby met with her on two different occasions to update her and offered to meet with her a third time. 

When questions were asked regarding specific city actions, she refused to let Ormond Beach City Commissioner Dwight Selby answer any with the statement that this was “her meeting.” In my opinion, she had very few sound answers to the many questions asked, yet she refused to let anyone outside of Ormond-by-the-Sea speak. The City Manager, City Chief Engineer and the Director of Public Works were in attendance at both meetings and were willing to answer questions.

There was no mention of concern for the environment from Heather Post. The Septic to Sewer conversion project for the north peninsula was the number one important environmental issue voted on during the OB Life Town Hall meetings this past year. Does she not represent all of her district?

We need to bring the residents of Ormond-by-the-Sea and the vity of Ormond Beach together, not divide us. Progress will be stifled with the US against THEM mentality. Heather Post was just plain wrong when she stated that this was only an Ormond-by-the-Sea issue. The Halifax River is part of the endangered Indian River Lagoon and it is everyone’s river; water knows no bounds.  The Volusia County Health Department has clearly stated and proven with factual data that Ormond-by-the-Sea is not suited for septic tanks. In fact, it is at the bottom of the list for suitability based on factors such as the age of the tanks, the water table, the porousness of the soil, the density of the number of tanks in an area.

From what I understand, the city is in the process of setting up a webpage regarding this issue with factual information, and planning Town Hall Meetings, all to begin after the start of the new fiscal year for the city of Ormond Beach, which is October 1st.  Ormond-by-the-Sea residents are our neighbors and friends, water quality is an important issue for all of us, so let’s be patient and let’s start working together. This will be long and slow process; this is not going to happen overnight. We will need to develop partnerships with several government entities to share in the overall cost. The design and permitting process hasn’t begun yet and that step alone, with bidding the project out and then beginning the design, will take close to a year.

If we want to leave this place better for those who follow, we must work together for the greater good by improving and protecting our waterways.

Peggy Farmer

Ormond Beach

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