March 23, 2023 Water District Meeting.
Commissioner Turley, Commissioner Pancratz, Commissioner Goffena and County Attorney Larsen were present as were: Minutes were amended by the Commissioners.
Wendy Shreeve, Warren Hanson, David W. Shreeve, Karen Randolph-King, Dylan Randolph, Daniel Main, Sherri Fanscha, Ken Naylor, Mark Snyder, Tom Work, Charles R Gettelman, John A. Adams, Judy Sutherland, Janice Beck, Keith Regli, Mike Pratt, Edward L. Grime, Cheryl Goffena, Radean Naylor, Kathy Hollenback and Dave Ponte were present.
Commissioner Turley stated that the meeting for proposed water district public comment and provided speaking introductions. Further stated that anyone choosing to speak would have a three-minute public comment period on if they would like to have a Water District or if they are opposed to having a Water District.
Dave Ponte, Kathy Hollenback, Lot 64. Mr. Ponte said they are for establishing the Water District and had a question for County Attorney Larsen regarding the easement issue. County Attorney Larsen said the Land Owners’ Association has obtained legal counsel and he really does not have an opinion on the easements because easement validity is beyond the scope of water district formation by the County. Mr. Ponte asked the question if someone chooses to not be in the district, will they have any cost? Commissioner Pancratz said no. Mr. Ponte stated that no one should be kept from getting water, and that the more people that are in, the less it will cost.
Dave and Wendy Shreeve, Lot 69, gave a letter of support that can be viewed by request at the Clerk & Recorders Office. Mr. Shreeve said the County committed a lot of money for the Professional Engineer’s Report (PER) to move forward with determining cost and possible feasibility of a water district.
Mike Pratt, Lots 27, 28, 29. Mr. Pratt stated that he wanted the water but not if favor of the voting system or the water district formation. He further stated there was a protest of the petition turned in because it did not follow Montana Codes, e.g.: non-entity, name is not legitimate, names on petition don’t qualify and they don’t meet the 10% of qualified electors of the district required. A copy of the protest of petition can be received by request at the Clerk & Recorders office.
Ken Naylor, Raedean Naylor, Lots 42 & 45. Mr. Naylor stated that he is in favor of the water district. The petition was brought in to the Commissioners on June 15 and July 1 and put in to the paper on July 14. This may end up in Federal Court.
Raedean Naylor said she is in favor of the water district and she and Ken Naylor wanted to help out and started the petition. Mrs Naylor is not favor of the conflict people are faced with in this situation. She further stated that the PER is not perfect, however, it must be used to base the water district feasibility decision. Raedean noted that there are a number of grants and funding sources available to assist with the financial burden of establishing a community water system.
John Adams, Lot 58. Mr. Adams stated that he is against the water district given that people moved here knowing what the existing water quality and quantity are. It is not well established what the price of getting the water through the proposed water district will be. Corrected Attorney Larsen that the Board of the Landowner’s Assoc. hired counsel, not the association.
Charles Gettelman, Lot 10. Mr. Gettelman is against the water district and opting out given that his research indicates it may cost him $6,600.00 for the initial hook-up fee.
Sherri Flanscha, Lot 15. Ms. Flanscha is in favor of the water district formation and will complete whatever it takes to receive district water to their property.
Judy Sutherland, Lot 8. She is not in favor of the water district and is opting out. She further stated that it is her opinion that The Roundup Mesa Landowners association (LOA) is in control of all Mesa ownership issues, including utility easements.
Ed Grime, Lots 59 & 60. Mr. Grime is not in favor of the water district formation. He questioned the authority of counties to create a water district. County Attorney Larsen responded that 7-13-2203, 2204, and 2206 allows for this and for the Musselshell County Commission to hear the petition and protests. Mr. Grime stated that he has opted out because he doesn’t trust what is happening and it is his opinion that voting isn’t fair. (Shouting started and Commissioner Turley asked Mr. Grime to sit down)
Dan Main, Lot 20, is in favor of the water district. He asked the Commission what is the process to approve the petition. Commissioner Pancratz said that after the hearing processes are complete, the Commissioners are required to define and establish the boundaries of who will benefit and who will not and to put the proposed district up for vote.
Mark Snyder, Lot 68, is not in favor of the water district and is opting out. Mr. Snyder stated that he has little faith in government.
Commissioner Turley said these are all valid concerns. The Commissioners will complete more research to get questions answered by the next hearing due March 30.
County Attorney Larsen said anyone can opt in later if the water district exists. Once the boundaries are set, then an election will be held with mail out ballots. Mr. Larsen agreed that additional research must be completed to answer voting eligibility questions.
Commissioner Pancratz explained to the attendees that another meeting beyond March 30 will be held if deemed necessary.
Commissioner Goffena stated that district water grant funding and favorable lending sources are available for what initially appears to be impossible projects. Such funding sources make impossible district projects feasible, and are not available to private individuals.
Meeting adjourned at 6:20 P.M
Last modified: April 5, 2023