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Oxford council hears sewer expansion bill for first time
Emory Street expansion will come up for vote at Nov. 6 City Council meeting
emory-street
A total of 28 homes along Emory Street will be visited to acquire easements needed for the city’s sewer system expansion with the understanding that the current fee schedule is subject to change. (Darryl Welch | The Covington News)

OXFORD, Ga. The Oxford City Council heard the first reading of the city’s new sewer ordinance at its Monday night meeting.

The council had approved the framework for the Emory Street sewer expansion Sept. 18. The ordinance change is required to match the framework that was approved.

Under the current ordinance, owners of properties where the property line is situated within 100 feet of a right of way containing sewer lines must connect to the system within 120 days. The new ordinance specifies that the dwelling on the property must be located within the 100 feet and waives the mandatory connection requirement with certain provisions.

According to the new ordinance, property owners where a dwelling unit is situated within 100 feet of a sewer line will be required to connect to the system within 120 days of the adoption of the ordinance or within 120 days from the time that new sewer lines are accepted by the city. Under the ordinance, homeowners must pay the required city tap on fee and request the scheduling of connection to the sewer. The framework called for a tap on fee of $3,600.

The mandatory connection will be deferred for five years if property owners who are required to connect present documented evidence to the city clerk that their existing private sewage system or septic tank is functioning in accordance with state and county health standards. The evidence must be signed by a septic tank contractor who is certified by the Georgia Department of Health. The ordinance requires property owners to submit the documented evidence every five years or the mandatory connection provisions of the ordinance will apply.

According to the ordinance, if any private sewage system, septic tank or cesspool on property where the sewer is within 100 feet of the dwelling units or principal dwellings fails or requires significant maintenance, the owner of the property will be required to immediately connect to the sewer. The ordinance defines significant maintenance costs as exceeding 50 percent of replacement costs or closure/connection costs.  The new ordinance states that “owners of such private sewage systems shall not at any time make repairs, alterations or extensions to any private sewage system in any way where public sewer lines are available.”

At first read, the ordinance appears to differ from the framework that was approved last month. That framework indicated that mandatory hook-up would be required only when a septic system fails and requires a health department permit to repair.

The framework also calls for property owners who connect prior to Dec. 31, 2023, to receive an $1,800 credit toward the tap fee to connect to the system. It provides an additional $1,800 credit to any property owner who granted the city an easement through their property to install the system.

Assistant City Manager Matthew Pepper said the second reading and vote on the new ordinance will take place at the council’s Nov. 6 meeting.