No dissolution of SAWS joint powers board, County Commissioners say

(Sheridan, Wyo.) — The Sheridan Board of County Commissioners voted today to discontinue discussion of the dissolution of the Sheridan Area Water Supply Joint Powers Board (SAWS JPB). According to the County, SAWS supplies rural water customers and the City of Sheridan with potable water. By agreement with the Sheridan County Commissioners, the Sheridan County Public Works Director acts as Administrator for the SAWS-JPB. Also by agreement with the City Council of Sheridan, the physical system of reservoirs, intakes, treatment plants, water storage tanks, pumping stations, transmission mains, distribution mains and meters are operated and maintained by the City of Sheridan’s Utility Department. By the same agreement, the City of Sheridan Billing and Collection Departments bill the SAWS-JPB customers, and collect and deposit the revenues to the SAWS-JPB operating account. SAWS-JPB pays the City and County for their services. The commissioners took the vote after hearing an hour of discussion between SAWS JPB attorney Tony Wentland and County Attorney Matt Redle in a special meeting. The County had looked at the possibility of changing the administrative structure of water delivery services to rural Sheridan County residents, who receive water via the current SAWS water system. A change in structure, which would have dissolved the SAWS JPB and moved all water assets to the City of Sheridan, could have saved in administrative costs and inefficiencies, a consultant told the commissioners, Fletcher Davis of Hawksley Consulting previously told the commissioners. However, it could have also left rural customers without effective representation on water delivery issues. "In terms of representing (existing SAWS) customers' interests, who would be able to step in and legally protect that interest (if SAWS is dissolved)?" Redle asked. "For the former SAWS customers?" Wendtland asked. "Nobody. Themselves." The commissioners collectively said they will work at streamlining SAWS procedures, but do not want to disenfranchise rural water users who rely on the system through dissolution. #dally #news