Magnolia Springs pushing for franchise agreement with Baldwin County Sewer Service

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MAGNOLIA SPRINGS - The Magnolia Springs town council denied a right-of-way disturbance permit from Baldwin County Sewer Service to run 1,100 linear feet of pipe down Cotton Stocking Lane. It was brought to the council’s attention that the residents along the road had not been notified prior to the permit application.

“We’ve always said that Oak Street and the river were off limits for Baldwin County Sewer Service hookups, and if we allow this line to run along Cotton Stocking Lane, then in my opinion we’re abandoning that pledge,” said Mayor Pro-tem Ben Dykema. “This is parallel to the river along the southside, Oak Street is parallel to the river on the northside. They both front the river, so if we make this move I think we’re just abandoning any attempt to regulate Baldwin County Sewer Service in town.

“Secondly, Baldwin County Sewer Service is a private, for-profit sewer company that pays nothing for the use of our town right of way. I noticed in the application that they had to pay $10 for the application, and we get nothing else from them. I think that’s our negligence, and we should be getting some percentage or some part of the profit; somehow we should be justly compensated.”

A sewer spill recently occurred on Pecan Street, which Dykema states meant pipe was left waiting to be cleaned up for over 30 days. He stated he believed a fine should be in place for sewage spills such as the one that occurred last month.

Twice in the past the town and Baldwin County Sewer Service have attempted to create a franchise agreement, but one has never been agreed upon by both parties. Instead, citizens looking to hookup to Baldwin County Sewer Service have brought the request to the council, who has then approved or denied it.

“I’ve sat here for eight years and we’ve signed for this one hookup and then that one hookup, and we’ve never been really happy with what the result is and how it’s happened,” Dykema said. “We need to actually get Baldwin County Sewer Service to come to grips with speaking with us and working out the differences we have and coming to some kind of franchise agreement.”

Dykema suggested a moratorium on allowing Baldwin County Sewer Service hookups until a franchise agreement was struck between the town and the company. Town Counsel Brad Hicks expressed concern for taking such a move, but is looking into the matter further. The town council was in agreeance to move forward with developing a franchise agreement with Baldwin County Sewer Service.