Johnson County Agrees To Terms On Lake DeSmet Buyout

Johnson County Agrees To Terms On Lake DeSmet Buyout

As reported Wednesday on Sheridan Media, the Johnson County Commissioners voted to accept the proposal from Sheridan County to buyout Sheridan County's interest in Lake DeSmet and sign the lease with Wyoming Game and Fish.

In their meeting Wednesday the commissioners discussed the latest offer from Sheridan County and proposed some minor changes in wording to the agreement and tabled the decision until later in the meeting to give the lawyers for each side time to discuss details.

Sheridan County then came back with some minor changes that were agreeable with Johnson County.

Essentially the agreement will have Johnson County sign the lease with Game and Fish and to pay off the current loan that both counties own for repairs done on the dam. Johnson County will reimburse Sheridan County $500,000 in $100,000 installment payments over the next five years.

In return Sheridan County will not be held liable for any future problems at the lake, and will convey all assets and interests in the lake to Johnson County. They will retain 2,500 acre-feet of water to use at their desretion.

The Lake DeSmet Counties Coalition will be dissolved but a separate person or board will be set up by Johnson County to oversee the operations at the lake.

Commissioner John Gibbs explained why Johnson County was now willing to agree with the Game and Fish lease after fighting it for so long.

Sheridan County is expected to approve the agreement in a special meeting Thursday morning.

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