There are still about 100 Barbee Lake area residents who have failed to respond to the Lakeland Regional Sewer District’s demands to acquire easements for the sewer project. Among them is Larry Lindstrom who says he has no intention of being bullied into giving up part of his property or choosing between paying a sewer bill and eating.
Lindstrom says he has already contacted the American Civil Liberties Union and hopes to successfully challenge the LRSD. “I live on disability. After I pay for the house, electric and phone, that leaves me about $100 for food,” he explains. “I don’t know where they think people like me are going to come up with the money to pay to hook on (to the sewer) or the monthly fee. This is something I’m just financially unable to do.”
Dated Oct. 18, a letter was sent by attorney Andrew Boxberger to the roughly 100 residents who have yet to relinquish easements to the LRSD. “They’re threatening ‘forced execution’,” Lindstrom says. “You can take the horse to water, but you can’t force him to drink if he isn’t thirsty. You can’t force people to pay who don’t have the money.”
The letter states: “The District has every intention of seeking forced connection in accordance with I.C. 13-26-5-2, which will require you to hook up to the system as well as pay fees and court costs associated therewith. The Court will subsequently issue an order demanding said hook up. At that time, it will be too late to receive the benefit of the waived connection fee … This will cost you thousands of dollars, all of which can be avoided.”
“How can they just bully people like that?” Lindstrom asks. “I went to a meeting a while ago and they told us they could even take our houses. There’s a lot of us who just can’t afford this. They’re just taking food out of our mouths.”
On top of that, Lindstrom says his septic system works fine and there is no reason for him to have to hook to the new sewer system. Lindstrom lives along North Barbee Road between Sechrist and Big Barbee lakes and adds, “I’m over 200 feet from either lake and I’ve never had a problem with my septic system. The leech bed is in my yard and there’s no problems with anything. Why should I have to pay to flush my toilet?”
Attorney Andrew Boxberger, who is representing LRSD, was sent several questions in regards to Lindstrom’s concerns, but we have not yet received a response. The LRSD’s website has not been updated since May 2013 and provides no additional information for residents of the Barbee Chain of Lakes.