March 30, 2023 Water District Meeting
Commissioner Turley, Commissioner Pancratz, Commissioner Goffena and County Attorney Larsen were present.
Michelle Blegin, Karen Randolph-King, Dylan Randolph, Warren Hanson, Valerie Hanson, Ken Naylor, Teresa & Tom Harsch, David W. Shreeve, Wendy L. Shreeve, Christopher Dios, Bill Bradley, Daniel Main, Brett Bartlett, Bob Varney, Dave Dembeck, Dave Ponte, Tom Work, John Adams, Charles Gettelman, Judy Sutherland, Janice Beck, Keith Regli, Mike Pratt, Mark Snyder, Debbie Snyder, Lura Pitman and Raedean Naylor were present. Wendy Beye, Debbie Willumson and Christine Wood were present via Teams.
Commissioner Turley welcomed everyone and said they are going to be having a final meeting in April once they have the final boundaries of the proposed water district.
County Attorney Larsen told everyone that they had reached out to MACo, the county’s insurance carrier and had received clarification. He read MCA 7-13-22-07 regarding any defects in the petition shall not vitiate any proceedings
Dave Ponte is in support of the Water District and said he thinks the Association taking an active opposition is inappropriate.
Dan Main is in support of the Water District and read MCA 7-13-2212 regarding who is qualified to vote.
County Attorney Larsen said MACo advised one property owner gets one vote. Then the Commissioner has to call for an election after 85 days. The land owner has to provide proof of qualification to vote 25 days before election.
Mark Snyder asked the Commissioners if they would provide something in writing that the people that opt out will not be in the district. Commissioner Turley said the opt out forms will be recognized by the Commission.
Commissioner Turley read a letter that was submitted to the Commissioners from Wendy Beye which is available for review at the Clerk and Recorders Office.
Christine Wood would like a copy of the minutes from both meeting sent to her via e-mail.
Debbie Willumson read a letter she had sent to the Commissioners which will be available for review at the Clerk & Recorders Office. Ms. Willumson does not support the proposed Water District without solid PER numbers.
John Adams thinks the land owners should decide for themselves. There were letters sent to the Commissioners from the Board regarding the Committee not wanting the Association involved and their Articles of Incorporation. MCA 7-13-17 states the general powers of water and/or sewer districts and feels like it is not safe for those who opt out.
County Attorney Larsen said there are possibilities and probabilities regarding the Water District Board could do relating to taking real or personal property within or without the district. The statute limits to taking by grant, purchase, gift, devise, or lease for the Board to exercise its powers. If there were an issue with this, the affected landowner could resolve that issue through legal process with the District Court.
Brett Bartlet said he has a well but the water is not good
Judy Sutherland wanted to clear up the fact that the Board is not against getting water. They just don’t want to force those that don’t want it and to stay out of the easements. Ms. Sutherland asked about water district effecting property taxes. She also wants everyone to look closely and carefully on what they are getting themselves into.
Commissioner Turley said the Water District could do a Special Improvement District (SID) but it would only affect those in the district. It would go onto the taxes and then paid off. Then it would only be the maintenance.
Commissioner Pancratz said the Commissioners are not going to get into the easement argument. That will be up to the Water District and they need to follow the MCA.
Mr. Snyder asked if the PER was done? Commissioner Turley said they need to know what the boundaries are going to be.
Mr. Main asked if District is formed and they find the funding is a problem, will they be able to opt out?
Commissioner Pancratz said that if the district isn’t successful, he doesn’t see it happening at all.
County Attorney Larsen said that to dissolve the district/board, a petition by 50% of property owners would need to be files, then after approval by the district, it could be dissolved by the Commissioners if it was determined that it was no longer necessary.
Mike Pratt asked the County Attorney if they were going to Federal Court. Mr. Larsen said not that he is aware of and that is the last place they want to be.
Commissioner Goffena stated that improved water in most cases improves living conditions and ultimately improves property values.
Meeting adjourned at 6:20.
After the meeting Michelle Blegin said she lives North of the subdivision and would allow the water line to run through her property.
Last modified: July 21, 2023