invisible hit counter
Repairs in limbo over unclear records
A recent assessment of infrastructure deeded to Glynn County by Sea Island Co. has revealed problems with lift stations at Hawkins Island that will be expensive to repair.

But it's uncertain who is responsible to pay the estimated $130,000 for the work.

The issue was discussed Thursday by the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission, where it was referred to the county because there is no record the infrastructure was ever deeded to the county, chairman Ronnie Perry said.

"As of right now, our deeds do not show ownership," he said. "There are some maintenance issues that have to be addressed. Somebody is going to have to address this."

Perry said the only record he can find about who holds the deed to the property is a request for the Glynn County Commission to accept the deed about four years ago. Perry said then-Glynn County Commissioner Tom Sublett had the request pulled from a meeting consent agenda for discussion, but the item was never put back on an agenda for a vote.

"I hope it's resolved immediately," he said. "We know there's issues out there."

County Commissioner Clyde Taylor, whose term as chairman of utility board ended Dec. 31, said the issue was discussed last summer.

Board members were told Sea Island Co. installed equipment in lift stations at the development that didn't meet county standards and before the commission would accept the deed, improvements had to be made by the owner of the system.

"The water and sewer commission was not prepared to say they were responsible for the system," Taylor said. "We didn't feel like we were responsible for pumps and controllers that were undersized. I think our position was logical."

When the homeowner's association asked the utility board to make the repairs last summer, Taylor said a compromise to split the cost to bring the water system up to county standards was offered. The offer was rejected by the homeowner's association, which claims the county accepted the deed.

Taylor said if the county did accept the deed, it was with the understanding that repairs to the lift stations would have had to been first, before the county would have accepted responsibility for the system. That never happened, he said.

"It would not have been the responsibility of the county or the water and sewer commission," Taylor said. "It would have been the responsibility of Sea Island Co. (if it hadn't declared bankruptcy). I think we made a fair offer to Hawkins Island."

Taylor said he sympathizes with homeowner's association, but the county's position is it will not accept deeds to infrastructure that does not meet county standards. Ultimately, the repairs will have to be paid by the homeowners, the county or utility board, he said.

"It's not the homeowners fault," Taylor said. "They're going to say 'we're just innocent bystanders here.'"

Taylor said he is uncertain how the issue will be resolved, but it's likely lawyers will eventually be involved.

"The county and JWSC are the only ones with deep pockets left," he said. "There is no Sea Island Co. to go back to."

Perry said the lift stations must be brought up to standards before the water and sewer commission will accept the deed.

Perry also questioned if there were other properties where it's uncertain who is responsible for upkeep of the infrastructure.

"My biggest concern is if there is a sewage spill," Perry said. "That creates all kinds of issues and problems."

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about government and other local topics. Contact him at gjackson@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 323.



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