Johnson County Votes Against Lake DeSmet Lease

Johnson County Votes Against Lake DeSmet Lease

During their regular meeting Wednesday, the Johnson County Commissioners hosted a public meeting to discuss the proposed lease of water in Lake DeSmet by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, which the commissioners again voted against.

Representatives of the Lake DeSmet Counties Coalition, the Game and Fish, all five Sheridan County Commissioners and members of the public were there to discuss the lease, ask questions and give their opinion on the matter.

The Johnson County Commissioners have had numerous issues with the lease including the 99-year term, and the possible tax liability to the counties that could stem from the lease.

The latest form of the lease, which the commissioners said they received last Friday, still had the 99-year term in the agreement but had verbage saying if there were to be any tax liability due to the lease, the Game and Fish would stand with the LDCC and Sheridan and Johnson Counties to fight the possible tax liabilty.

The main issues for Johnson County are the length of the lease and the tax liability concern. If those issued can be resolved, the agreement could move forward.

Commission Chair Smokey Wildeman explained what could happen now that they have voted the agreement down.

The Game and Fish now has the option of reconsidering the length of the lease or walking away from the proposed agreement. The decision should come at their next meeting in September, but may come sooner.

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