MILTON — The city’s efforts to move forward on a new wastewater treatment plant came to a temporary halt when their proposal asking for $6 to $9 million to the Triumph Gulf Coast board was rejected.
The City Council voted at their Dec. 10 meeting to send the plan and proposal back to the Committee of the Whole to study despite strong opposition from Mayor Heather Lindsay.
"I strongly disagree," Lindsay said about sending the proposed $31 million project back for more study.
Lindsay wanted to resubmit the proposal to Triumph, this time with the addition of a private partner, which was apparently the reason Triumph had rejected the initial proposal.
So far, the city has collected $24 million through various sources for the $31 million project.
Santa Rosa County Commission Chairman Sam Parker and County Administrator Dan Schebler spoke to the council suggesting the city partner with the county and their private partner before they resubmit a new proposal. The county has prioritized the city’s wastewater project as part of the RESTORE Act, and suggested the city wait for that response before resubmitting the proposal. In addition, the county has already approved $2 million toward the project.
Lindsay said the county has been saying that for months but nothing is progressing. She directly asked Parker and Schebler who their private partner was. Schebler said they could not disclose that information at this time because of non-disclosure agreements they have during the negotiation process.
In April, City Manager Randy Jorganson said the city intended to move wastewater operations to a 24-acre site at the Santa Rosa Industrial Park in East Milton and would use various funding sources for the project.
The reason for a new plant is the current facility will reach its maximum treatment capacity of 2.5 million gallons a day by 2025. The proposed plant would be able to treat 8 million gallons a day.