Letter Refutes Claim of Water System 'Regionalization'

As we've reported, the Sheridan Area Water Supply Joint Powers Board and the city of Sheridan are discussing the possibility of the city assuming ownership of the rural water system. The SAWS board attorney raised questions about the proposal in a letter made public at the board's meeting last month. Sheridan Media reporter Pat Blair has details.

The attorney for the Sheridan Area Water Supply, which provides drinking water to the county's rural residents, says the proposed consolidation of the county rural water system under ownership of the city of Sheridan could disenfranchise the people that the rural system currently serves. Sheridan Area Water Supply, also known as SAWS, owns the rural water system, but the city operates and maintains the system.

Now, SAWS and Sheridan city officials are considering whether the city should assume ownership of the rural water system as a cost-cutting measure. The proposed change has been characterized as a way to “regionalize” the city and rural water systems.

But SAWS attorney Tony Wendtland, in a letter that he read to the SAWS board last month, says the measure wouldn't be “regionalized.” Instead, the move would consolidate both systems into a single system controlled by the city, with the city “agreeing” to sell water from the consolidated city system to rural customers.

The current SAWS board consists of three county commissioners, who are elected by all county voters, and three Sheridan city council members. The letter notes that a consolidated system would be controlled by a city council, with no political representation for water customers who live outside the city. Sheridan Media will have more information from the letter in future reports.


Send us a News Tip!

Have a news tip?
Use our anonymous form to let us know.