Water district hearing draws a crowd

A hearing on the formation of a water district drew a crowd of people, 15, that packed into the commissioners’ office on Wednesday morning.

Troy Shirley speaking for the owners in the proposed district stated that the owners are currently using City of Conrad water by hauling it to their homes.

It was noted that at least four of the owners have infrastructure to provide delivery directly to the properties in the district. The intent is to form a district to pursue grants for funding infrastructure to provide delivery directly to all of the properties in the district.

The source of water has not been finalized, but without infrastructure there would not be the possibility of direct delivery.

Monty Johnson and Gary Arnst spoke on behalf of the Pondera County Canal and Reservoir Company saying there was no objection to the formation of a district. However, the Canal Company supplies water to the City of Conrad under municipal water shares. This use of shares is a concern to the Canal Company as the owners in the district have their shares as irrigation shares and the City of Conrad has their shares as municipal shares.
“Only the Canal Company can make changes in the use of shares,” said Johnson.

Johnson also stated that the Canal Company would like to begin a dialogue with the City of Conrad to resolve concerns as there is no guarantee by the Canal Company to provide water to the proposed district via the City of Conrad shares.

Both Jerry Hepp and Don Bandow stated they have no objection to the formation of the district.

But, both landowners are concerned with potential impacts to their property in the future as both own property through which the infrastructure would potentially need to run and they do not want the infrastructure crossing their property(s).

Conrad Mayor Wendy Judisch read a statement, voicing support of the city for the water district. It would remove liabilities from the individual landowners and would be a positive factor in economic growth.

Cheryl Curry, representing the Pondera Regional Port Authority (P.A.) also spoke in favor of the creation of the district as a positive economic growth factor.

Commissioner Joe Christiaens asked County Attorney Mary Ann Ries to comment. She said that the criteria to create the district had been met by the petitioners and the creation of the district is the only topic to be decided by the commissioners.

With that, Commissioner Sandy Broesder moved to take the matter under advisement. On a second from Christiaens, the motion passed on a 2-0 vote. Commissioner Cynthia Johnson was absent.

In other business, bids were received and opened on five pickup trucks the county had declared as surplus property.

On three of the trucks, the minimum bid was not met on two and those bids were rejected. No bids were received for the 1989 Chevy truck.

Valued at $500, three bids were received for a 1986 Chevy truck. Steve Kaphammer entered a bid of $555, Steve Hutton bid $552.54 and Jesse Fuson bid $1,350.

With a value placed at $800 on a 1994-3/4 ton Chevy pickup, J. Hardman entered a bid of $1,300.

The commissioners moved to sell the pickup trucks to Fuson and Hardman for their bid amounts.

The other three trucks will go back up for sale by sealed bid to be opened on Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. in the commissioners’ office.

Those trucks are the 1971 International F1800, the 1972 Ford F-100 pickup and the 1989 Chevy pickup, all valued at $500.

Mayor Judisch met with the commissioners in regards to CTEP (Community Transportation Enhancement Program) from the state.

If a county or municipality does not have a project qualifying for use of the funds, they may oo-op with a qualifying program within the county.

Judisch made a request that the county partner with the city (if the county doesn’t have a qualifying project) for their (the city’s) decorative street lights and/or safe routes to school programs.

Curry from the P.A. spoke in support of the city’s projects and a partnership between the city and county. No action from the commissioners was taken at this time.

There was also a bid opening for the lease of eight motor graders on Nov. 8.

Two bids were received, one from RDO for a John Deere 2013 model 870GP for $1,950,200. With a trade in allowance of $1,210,000, the net bid was for $725,200.

The second bid was from T&E for a Caterpillar 2012 model 160M2 for $2,108,672. With a trade in allowance of $1,561,500, the net bid was $547,172.

The commissioners took the bids under advisement for further review of details.

The commissioners meet every Wednesday at 10 a.m. to go over county business.

The public is always welcome and encouraged to attend and see their government at work.