By VIRGINIA GIORGIS
MOUNTAIN VIEW – Towards the end of a lengthy Bridger Valley Joint Powers Board meeting Wednesday, Dec. 12, the board directed their attorney to draft some resolutions for consideration concerning the transfer of water rights to the board.
In a proposal brought before the board at their meeting in November by board member and Lyman representative Gary Hutchinson, he wrote “two guidelines needed to be adapted concerning present hookups.” Guideline A said the “policy must be retroactive to all hookups from the beginning to the present. It further stated “all users within the County portion of the system will be required to turn over their water rights or pay the set forth fee.” In addition, the towns would be “required to gather all available water rights within their jurisdiction and turn them over to Joint powers or pay the appropriate fees.”
Hutchinson had also developed a formula in which he determined the value of a territorial water right. This figure would be used to determine the cost of later rights and the amount to be charged for hookups.
Guideline B addressed “all present users are to be grand-fathered in thus not requiring them to turn overt their water rights or pay the above mentioned fee.” It further stated this would be applied to county residents and the towns. For those who had already turned over their water rights, they “will be reimbursed the value of their rights via reduced per 1,000 gallon rates. The towns likewise will be given a reduced rate in order to reimburse their cost of procuring water rights turned over to the Joint Powers Board.”
Larry Adams, a representative of Blacks Fork proposed the JPB grandfather in the Blacks Fork Water District and then set and enforce their policy for the future.
The intended resolutions, or a culmination of the ideas formed into one or more resolutions if passed are to help the JPB with present problems over the turn over of water rights and set policies for the future.
The resolutions, according to board member and county commissioner Leonard Hysell, was a starting point to try to solve the water right issue. Both Hysell and commission chair Bob Stoddard noted a plan had to be formulated. Hysell said, “or we’ll never get it done.”
Prior to the call to order, members of the JPB were subjected to questions by representatives of the Blacks Fork Water District at the Dec. 12 meeting.
During a discussion session before the meeting, Jeri Deatherage brought up the issue of the committee formed earlier this year being disbanded at the last meeting by Hysell. She also noted it wasn’t reflected in the unofficial minutes of the November meeting.
The Pioneer had carried a story on the board’s November meeting and included a wrap-up of several meetings this year providing background for the reader along with the November meeting, the unofficial minutes of the November meeting and an interview with Bob Stoddard, board member and county commissioner.
As the committee’s disbandment was not reflected in the unofficial minutes in the wrap-up, the Pioneer said the committee was to bring back some proposals and possible solutions to the turning over of water rights to the JPB.
When enough board members arrived for the board to have a quorum, the JPB meeting was called to order. Although there were questions concerning this issue, the minutes were approved with no corrections so the approved minutes were the same as the unofficial minutes the Pioneer received after last month’s meeting. However, the committee is considered disbanded according to comments at the Dec. 12 meeting.
For the complete article see the 12-21-2012 issue.
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