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Water-Related News

Sanford commissioners agree to spend $1M to quickly fix city's aging wastewater system

In an emergency meeting, Sanford commissioners this week agreed to spend at least $1 million to quickly repair the city’s aging wastewater system after last year’s Hurricane Ian, Tropical Storm Nicole and other recent storms overwhelmed the decades-old infrastructure and caused sewage to flow in downtown streets and back into homes.

Such a large expenditure would typically require city staff and commissioners to spend weeks developing a repair plan and putting out a request for companies to bid on the project.

“But we don’t have time to wait,” said Bill Marcous, a manager in Sanford’s utilities department, at Monday’s commission meeting. “Over the last two years, the storm activity has accelerated the useful lifespan of this system beyond regular maintenance. … We need to place orders for this system now.”

At the meeting, Commissioner Sheena Britton said commissioners should also address the low morale among Sanford employees and that the “city is falling apart.”

“The city of Sanford is a sinking ship,” she said. “And I need to talk about that with my fellow commissioners and mayor today.”

But city attorneys and commissioners stopped her and said the emergency meeting’s agenda was publicized to address the repair expenditure for Sanford’s wastewater system. Under Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine law, commissioners could not talk about issues not on the agenda.

Commissioners, however, agreed to address Britton’s concerns at a public workshop on Feb. 13.