Some commercial businesses might see sewage rates increase after the City of Milton completes the acquisition of a private sewage company and its territory in Bagdad.
The sewer system, Sundial Utilities, currently serves about 500 residents and seven commercial properties in the Da Lisa Road and Garcon Point Road area. It has an independent, certified wastewater treatment plant. The City will be purchasing the system and the franchising area for $180,000.
City Manager Brian Watkins said the transfer of responsibilities to the City should not affect current residential customers, but commercial properties on the grid will see a small hike in rates.
"In these days, in financial difficulties, I'd be pleased if they didn't raise rates," Sundial resident and business owner Joda Collins said. "There's nothing you can do about it."
Collins said he was first notified of the change in services when he paid his bill and received a refund check back from the utility company. It contained a notice stating Milton would be taking over fiscal responsibilities as of May 31.
Christine Shackle, Sundial Utilities manager, says most customers have received their notice letters. She has been running the business since the owners died April 13 2009 and April 13 of this year. She said the family has been looking at trying selling the business and the City approached them in Dec. of 2011.
"We've been on a rollercoaster ride, since then," Shackle said. "It's all worked out."
Sundial Utilities was built as a facility in 1997 during the construction of the Sundial subdivision located on Garcon Point Rd., according to Shackle. The company originally purchased a used sewer system from Pace. It was transported and installed at the site.
The facility was rebuilt in 2004 with a 150,000 gallon capacity. New subdivisions such as Shield's Point, Bay Point, and Woodbury Forest were tied into the system as the area developed.
City officials say, as of right now, they are just taking over the operation. Ricky Hinote, superintendent of the Milton sewer system has been overseeing both the City treatment facility and Sundial Utilities' operations. Shackle said he was instrumental in the 2004 rebuilding.
Residents currently on septic systems will not be urged to retrofit their septic as part of the change, according to officials. Though, as septic systems fail, the Health Department might require homeowners to retrofit to the sewer.
The franchise area stretches south from Old Bagdad Highway west to Dawson Road and properties to the south along Garcon Point Road and Robinson Point Road south of Interstate 10.