Sheridan County Looks to Sell DeSmet Interests

County Commissioner, Bob Rolston, voted to approach Johnson County about buying Sheridan County's interests in Lake DeSmet.  The proposal was accepted after months spent in a deadlock concerning differences between the counties regarding a water rights negotiation with the Game and Fish Department.  (photo by Tracee Davis)
County Commissioner, Bob Rolston, voted to approach Johnson County about buying Sheridan County's interests in Lake DeSmet. The proposal was accepted after months spent in a deadlock concerning differences between the counties regarding a water rights negotiation with the Game and Fish Department. (photo by Tracee Davis)

Sheridan County's commissioners agreed this morning that it might be healthier to step away from its troubled partnership with Johnson County concerning a potential lease to the Game and Fish Department for water rights. Sheridan County has been fronting approximately $100,000 per year from its general funds for upkeep of its portion of Lake DeSmet and getting no revenue in return. The commissioners passed a resolution this morning that would essentially disband the Lake DeSmet Counties Coalition and allow one county to purchase full water rights of the lake. Commissioner, Bob Rolson, said the consensus on the Sheridan side is the county should get out of the deal entirely.

If Johnson County doesn't want the lake from Sheridan County for approximately half a million dollars, the accepted proposal also allows for Sheridan County to buy all of the lake as well and negotiate recreational or industrial contracts independently, and thus generate revenue for the county. Either way, it appears the counties are closer than ever to reaching a mutually agreeable conclusion by next month's deadline.

The next step forward in resolving the water lease dispute will be to have another meeting with Johnson County and the LDCC Joint Powers Board to hopefully match options and come up with a workable plan to present to the Game and Fish Department.

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