Couple sues county for home flooding

Santa Rosa County is set to pay out at staff’s recommendation $15,000 in a settlement with homeowners alleging that the county is responsible for flooding of their home.

In court filings, James and Joy Cowart, through their attorney Darryl Steve Traylor, Jr., allege that lack of maintenance by the county of county-owned stormwater drainage system led to their home flooding. The case was filed April 6, 2018.

According to county documents, the Cowarts’ home on Foxfire Lane in Milton flooded June 6, 2017 during a rainstorm. The plaintiffs put forward a settlement request for $15,000 to cover legal costs as well as damages.

County staff has recommended the county settle the claim to avoid future expenses and legal fees. The payment would come out of the county’s self-insurance fund.

This is not the first time Santa Rosa County has been taken to task over maintenance of drainage systems. A 2015 Baskerville Donovan, Inc. stormwater drainage study said lack of maintenance of drainage culverts throughout Holley by the Sea contributed to persistent flooding issues.

The county has since commissioned additional studies and expended funds to rework culverts, and the public works department created a schedule for culvert maintenance work in the area.

County Commissioners will discuss the issue during their regular board meeting Monday and vote to pay or reject the settlement deal Thursday. Both meetings will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Santa Rosa County Administrative Center Board Room at 6495 Caroline Street in Milton.

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