Sheridan County Benefits by Giving Up Lake DeSmet

Sheridan County Courthouse -- Photo by Leslie Stratmoen
Sheridan County Courthouse -- Photo by Leslie Stratmoen

The dissolution of a contract between Sheridan and Johnson counties over ownership of Lake DeSmet is coming to fruition.

News Director Leslie Stratmoen has the story.

Sheridan County will soon be severing its contract with Johnson County over ownership of Lake DeSmet, which was acquired about a decade ago through a joint contract, for the lake which is in Johnson County.

Sheridan County Commissioner Mike Nickel explained that when the lake came up for sale, the owner wanted to give the body of water to the state but the state didn't want it. So, the counties stepped in.

But, he said, Sheridan County's been losing money on the holding over the years, to the tune of half a million dollars.

So, that's what the breaking of the contract is all about – handing ownership and management over to the county that reaps the benefits because the lake is within its boundaries. As per the new contract, Johnson County will be paying the $500,000 back to Sheridan County, over the next five years, in increments of $100,000 a year, from money collected from the Game and Fish Department.

Now, Nickel said the state wants management over the lake to preserve the wildlife there and is ready to pay, so Sheridan County can get out of the contract.

All are in agreement, he said, it's just taken awhile to get everyone together.

According to the new contract, the payments to Sheridan County will be due and payable within 30 days of each annual payment from the Game and Fish Commission to Johnston County. If all goes as planned, now, the partnership should be dissolved by early next year.

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