The Sheridan County Commissioners met with involved parties of the Lake DeSmet Counties Coalition Joint Powers Board Thursday to seek legal advice concerning how Sheridan County can move forward in negotiating a water lease independently of Johnson County. Commissioner, Terry Cram, explained the commissioners, with the approval of the Sheridan County attorney, had requested advice from Tom Toner, of the Yonkee and Toner law firm, to provide advise about how to negotiate a water lease for the county's portion of Lake DeSmet water rights.
Toner said Johnson County will have to agree to an amendment of the Joint Powers Board agreement regarding water rights for each respective county and have recreational considerations added to the wording of the new negotiation. The amendment would then have to be approved by the Attorney General for the state of Wyoming. The commissioners were presented with a proposed resolution to the JPB agreement and plan to bring it up for discussion and approval at their next meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday.
The Game and Fish Department has already extended the deadline for Lake DeSmet negotiations once, and are now expecting negotiations or dismissal of the 99-year water lease by November 14 and 15.
The commissioners added it would be preferable to enter into a lease agreement with Johnson County, but it has been made clear that will not be an option.