Originally created 08/01/98

Owners to stand ground



GUYTON, Ga. -- The deadline is nearing for 80 Guyton residents who have been told to hook up to the city's sewer system or face losing water and garbage service.

Some of those residents, who have until today to comply with the city's request, plan to stand their ground and continue using their private septic tanks.

"We're going down kicking," said Guyton resident Pam Helmey.

In March, the city sent a letter to every homeowner in Guyton not hooked into the sewer, informing them they had 60 days to do so. After wet weather prevented many people from making the connection, the city extended the deadline to today and sent a second letter.

"Failure to comply with this deadline," that letter states, "will result in the city having no option but to disconnect services and utilities, file liens and levy fines."

Assistant City Clerk Peggy Gordon said the city probably will simply charge those residents for sewer services even if they haven't connected.

"We don't want to resort to (cutting off services)," she said. "That feels to us like it's kind of cold."

Connecting to the sewer isn't cheap. Guyton resident Ellen Harrison said her family paid about $850 to dig a ditch, lay the pipe to the main sewer line and hook it up.

Some residents, however, are content with their existing septic tanks.

"If it's not broke, don't fix it," Ms. Helmey explained.

Helmey plans to stand firm when the Aug. 1 deadline rolls around, but she's not sure yet what she'll do if the city cuts off her water.

Helmey's neighbor, Rhonda Gould, agreed.

"The whole fact of being forced to be hooked up on this system when you've got a perfectly good system -- and you've just forked out several hundred dollars on part of your system several years ago," she said.