On Friday, December 1, Cecil County officials officially enacted a sewer mandate that has been controversial, angered residents, and prompted Cecil County Campaign for Liberty, a libertarian group, to launch an opposition campaign.

County officials offered more compromises on the policy that addresses concerns from residents that were voiced during the November 17 public meeting. Homeowners are now offered a payment plan to connect to wastewater service and an extended grace period for those who choose not to do so.

The policy was introduced to the public last summer and required property owners who are capable of connecting to the county sewer system to do so within a specified period of time unless a triggering event, such as failure of the septic tank, occurs. Reacting to concerns that the proposed 5-year grace period was not enough time, it was announced Friday that property owners can now request a 10-year variance after their tank is inspected.

Initially the cost to homeowners to hook up to the sewer system was $12,000, but that was lowered to $6,000. County officials offered homeowners finance options as part of a compromise. One finance option included $2,000 down (one-third of cost) with the balance paid over 10 years with interest. A second option allows homeowners to spread the cost over 20 years with a fixed interest rate and does not include a down payment.

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