top of page

The Thoughtless Foreclosure Of Options

Last updated: 2024.01.19-22:17


“The Goal should be to avoid the thoughtless foreclosure of options.”

unknown


Primary sources:

Select Water Committee Meeting, 1/11/2024

January 11  meeting video .

The Sheridan portion of the briefing starts here at 21:14.

 

2024 Select Water Committee Members

  • Senator Cheri Steinmetz Republican District S03 - Chairwoman

  • Senators Affie Ellis Republican District S08

  • Senators Mike Gierau Democrat District S17

  • Senators Larry Hicks Republican District S11

  • Senators John Kolb Republican District S12

  • Senators Dan Laursen Republican District S19

  • Representative Albert Sommers Republican District H20 - Vice Chairman

  • Representatives Jon Conrad Republican District H19

  • Representatives Barry Crago Republican District H40

  • Representatives J.T. Larson Republican District H17

  • Representatives Chip Neiman Republican District H01

  • Representatives Mike Yin Democrat District H16

Proponents:

  • Councilman Terry Weitzel

  • Senator Dave Kinsky

  • Representatives Cyrus Western

  • Dan Roberts

  • Director Mead

 

Subject: Sheridan NE Transmission Main (NE X Line)

 

Apologies for the Raw Notes

We welcome contribution to clean them up.

Updates to this post will be noted in 

the upper right corner.

Level 3 grant approved by Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC), awarded in November 2022 for deign, engineering and easements.

 

Director Mead: "Our office recommendation was do not fund at this time just because they're still working on design and easements."



Question 1: Since design and easements have not been fully resolved, why has the recommendation changed?

Project design is 50% done, one easement done, second easement under negotiation with a verbal agreement.

Sheridan Board of County Commissioner (BOCCChristie Haswell, Sheridan Area Water Supply Joint Powers Board (SAWSJPB) chair, sent a letter to Senator Kinsey in support of this project despite three of the SAWSJPB members Siddle, Wright, and Patceg opposing the action.

Endorsement letter from Dixie Johnson, Sheridan Chamber of Commerce chair.

 

Weitzel: Opening statement to Committee.


Question 2: To Sheridan County Citizens - Is this an accurate statement of the facts?

We have a pressing need for affordable housing.

Question 3: Explicitly meaning what?

 

Documents and Resource pages of Interest in this matter.

Question 4: Will County and City work with Parties and Citizens to get everybody willing up to speed on the facts?

Question 5: Is the County and City open to creating robust and rigorous weekly online public debate?

Developers have secured the land.

Phase1 can be accommodated by current water supply. Phase 2 cannot without the extension.

Senator Hicks: Expressed pause over the easement, since “A verbal agreement is not an agreement.” Please describe the nature of the easement, and time frames for procurement of the easement agreement.

 

Councilman Weitzel: As of yesterday, the verbal agreement was confirmed yesterday, and a signed agreement is expected in a couple of weeks.

Question 6: After the expected couple of weeks will all design and easements will be resolved?

Question 7: What remains un-designed in the remaining 50% of the design work?

Sen. Hicks: Chamber letter talks about affordable housing, but it is outside the limits, yes?

 

Weitzel: The land is now annexed as part of the city.

 

Sen. Hicks: Just because the land is annexed, what is to keep the design affordable, as opposed to high-end housing. What guarantees are there in place as to state of need and guarantee this is affordable housing, since there is a high demand for high-end housing in Sheridan, as well.

 

Weitzel: Well, at this stage it is impossible to have guarantees. They are going to be very small lots, town homes

going in, and will be a complain nation of for-sale and rentals. There is a high demand for affordable rentals, as well.

Question 8: Which presentations provide evidence?

Question 9: Are the presentations available online to the public without a fee?

Weitzel: "at this phase it is impossible to have guarantees."

Question 10: Why is it impossible to have guarantees?

Question 11: Does it have to due with the lacking 50% of the design work?

Question 12: Does this make sense to fund now?

Sen. Gierau: How many units are we talking?

 

Weitzel: It’s quite a few. Phase 1 is 150 units

 

Sen. Kolb: Question about zoning: Is this platted? What is the zoning and density? What kind of growth potential and growth?

 

Dan Roberts: Zoning is B2. Phase 1 is being presented to City Council as a Planned Unit Development, so establishing specific zoning and types of uses for a Planned Unit Development (PUD). Mix on single- and multi-family, and some lots will be commercially zoned.


Kolb: What is B2?


Question 13: How is this connected to the City's  push to make R2 the default residential zoning?


Roberts: Commercial zoning that allows multi-family style of development.

Question 14: So a re-zoning action is necessary?

 

Sen. Hicks: Current transmission extension only goes to the new area, does not go further to Sheridan Area Water Supply (SAWS) or any other areas.

 

Roberts: Goes through private property that is presently in the county, adjacent to that is the annexed area. Crosses private property, and is in the urban service area. Providing supply to all the zoned area. We have the City-County joint land-use plan, and this was included in your packet. Currently the area is in the land use plan. Transcends all the way to the extended service area, and has the potential to serve that 1,500 acre area.

 

Sen Hicks: Has the potential to serve more than just the annexed area?

 

Roberts: Yes.

 

Hicks: Not seeing a letter in support from the SAWSJPB/County. Nothing that says some of the pipeline is going to be under their jurisdiction.


Weitzel: Grant was rescinded in November. There was poor communications between us and the county commissioners, so they chose not to endorse, but the other three people on the commission are in support of this.

 

Weitzel: Explains SAWSJPB's failure to support the project.


Question 15: What are Councilman Patceg's stated concerns with the  project?

Question 16: Are Councilman Patceg's concerns about the community value of the pipeline?

Question 17: Are Councilman Patceg's concerns about how the pipeline construction is to be funded by taxpayers?

Question 18: Is there a reason for dismissing Councilmen Patceg's concerns?

Weitzel: "There was some poor communications between us and the County Commissioners."


Question 19: Poor communications is, precisely, the foundational issue. How will it be addressed going forward, not only, with the County Commissioners, but with Constituents and the Public?


Hicks: That’s helpful, but this is a board, and it votes as a body. So is there any letter of endorsement?


Question 20: Why so dismissive of the SAWSJPB?

Question 21: Will the SAWSJPB dissolution be voted down by the City Council and County Commissioners?

Question 22: When? SAWS Customers are clearly against it.

Weitzel: Commissioner Haswell, the Mayor and Counselor Luhmann. had communications with the other County Commissioners who were opposed to this at this time, who have said they will support this in the future.

Question 23: Commissioners Siddle and Wright - Is this true?

Question 24: Would Councilman Patceg, also a SAWSJPB member, be willing to give his thoughts on the project?

Question 25: Would Councilman Patceg be willing to confirm the accuracy of facts in this meeting's proceedings?

Question 26: County & SAWS's Customers representation is going to be very limited, if things proceed as is? Agreed?

Question 27: SAWS's Customers are you in agreement with this decision?

Rep. Sommers: To be clear, this will support more than just the annexed area? Could handle service in the SAWS Area, substantially more than the current estimated need.

Roberts: Yes, it will serve the area up to the water service boundary.

 

Sen. Kolb: Clarity on the County Commissioners issue: The commissioners have not approved, and they have the ability to stop this project. If so, that is that. Concern is that you don’t have any agreement with the county for the property though which this must pass. You do not have an agreement with the board of County Commissioners for right of way or anything else. What can you do or not do without the BOCC approval?

[37:26]


Dan: The property is privately owned, in the county, and that’s why the easements are required. The intent is that since the City is the sponsor of this grant, the city will own and operate this transmission line, not SAWS. It has the potential to serve the county, but this will be a city-owned and maintained system.

 


Question 28: So, once all this happens, recognizing that the county and state will have given consent and support to make this happen, the pipeline will be largely in the county, the city will exercise exclusive control and ownership over this pipeline? 

Question 29: Is than, necessary, the best approach?

Question 30: If this is, in fact, the direction Sheridan County Citizens want to take, would not moving control to the County rather than the City make more sense?

Question 31: Would not an impartial evaluation of the resource management of the City and SAWS resolve the question of: Who is managing water resource better?

Question 32: Again, communication of the facts seem to be the primary deficiency?

Question 33: Requiring the follow up question: Is there something to hide?

Question 34: Is Control with the least amount of County Representation the objective?

Question 35: Good will like a verbal agreement is not binding. Why substitute good will practices for robust representation?

Question 36: Aside for gaining SAWS assets for free, County representation is eliminated by the SAWSJPB dissolution?

Question 37: Is this a resources, financial opportunities, and power grab for the City?

This project is within the Urban service area, so


Sen Kolb: I can assure you the county has that authority. I wouldn’t want the project stopped because the BOCC wasn’t in consent with this. Thank you for your work on this, and I understand there are questions.


Rep. Sommers: If I had a water line and was going to run it through my neighbor to another neighbor, all I have to do is get an easement. County Commissioners don’t approve those easements. Let’s say there is no easement, then the general fund (GF) money would revert back to the GF. So what’s the process, what has happened in the past? Will there be a deadline to get the project in, and if you need an extension what would that process be.

 

Mead: Five year reversion date, so July of 2029. If funded with general funds, then you could put in whatever reversion date you wanted.

 

Rep. Sommers: If the committee has a concern about the funds obligation, then we could put a reversion date.

 

Roberts: This should be a one-season construction project. If we could go to work in July, then it could be done by the end of the construction, or the early Spring.


Sen. Gierau: Are you looking at the developer to help defray the cost, or this is an economic development of the City, or…


Weitzel: The developer is going to put in a lot of infrastructure, but not any visibility on any contribution by the developer to the project.


Sen. Kinsky: Background: This has been about 20 years in the making. Controversy kills, consensus thrills. Consistent outreach to the public is key. Talks about the Economic Development Task Force (EDTF).

Party Platform: Liberty
11. Liberty is indivisible from economic freedom. The free-market economy is the economic system most compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government. Government’s undue interference in the market, as well as the fiscal irresponsibility of government, results in economic inequity. There exists no fundamental right to the fruits of another person’s labor.

Question 38: Where is the data to prove that actual outcomes are consistent with the intentions of the EDTF, Republican Party Platform, and the community?

Question 39: How is economic freedom measured?

Question 40: Where is the graphic showing an overall increase in each individual's economic freedom?


Question 41: Controversy kills, consensus thrills. Consistent outreach to the public is key. Are there safeguard to prevent suppression of opposition's perspective to maintain the appearance of consensus?

Evidence to Support  the Question: There is a resistance to acknowledge opposition. In this meeting Councilman Patceg and the SAWSJPB are consistently not acknowledged or disregarded. That is not valid communication to the Public and should be considered propagating disinformation and falsehoods.

Community Survey, Listening Sessions, Work Sessions, and Town Hall.

Question 42: Where can the Economic Development Task force documentation for this project be reviewed?

Question 43: Being geared toward public outreach is it online?

Question 44: Is there similar documentation for the housing council?

Question 45: Where is the evidence that the public, property owners, supported the creation of a housing council, purposed with the of development of attainable and affordable housing, to have the power of eminent domain, presumably, on any exist home own?

(a)  A municipality or county has the right to acquire by the exercise of the power of eminent domain any real property or interest therein which it deems necessary for its purposes under this chapter after adopting a resolution declaring that the acquisition of the real property described in the resolution is necessary for such purposes. A municipality or county may exercise the power of eminent domain in the manner provided by law.

(b)  Property already devoted to a public use may be acquired by the power of eminent domain, provided that no real property belonging to any public body may be acquired without its consent.

Party Platform: Private Property Rights
5. The Wyoming Republican Party supports the protection of private property from the use of eminent domain, civil asset forfeiture, amortization or inverse condemnation.

Question 46: Given the Republican Party Platform and the Kinsky's assurances of consistent outreach to the public is key community buy in, where is the proof this has been addressed?

Question 47: Is not the fact that this Party Platform exists an indication that the issue to the public is not addressed?

Question 48: Does expressed buyer's remorse with the Brooks Street Greenspace project concern anybody that the aforementioned: Community Survey, Listening Sessions, Work Sessions, and Town Hall communication strategy is not as effective as advertised?

Kinsky: "The key is to get some plans in place that can survive a bad mayor or fractious county commission."

Question 49: Are these plans an example of a current elected, at the time, acting in a manor to undermine a future elected?

Question 50: Is this not direct evidence of the intent to subvert the will People by minimizing the authority of representative other representative disagree with?

Question 51: Is this statement an example of "the swamp" or "the deep state"?


Key to Thrive 2035; this E. 5th St development is part of this plan.

 


Northeast Sheridan Infrastructure Project to East is the only green field development corridor. Out of the shadow of the Bighorns, land gets cheap.


Question 52: Is it true that, currently, there are approximately 24 lots under $100,000 on the market in Sheridan?

Question 53: Are there any caveats to this topic and statement that the Public should be aware of?

So, we had to extend the urban services boundary, and extend the potential service area beyond the city limits. The NE area is due to become urban area. This has been in the works for a long time, and it has buy in by the community.We do not force people to annex first and then love the conversation.

 

SAWS vs. City. For years now we have been building infrastructure, and when it is annexed by the city, it becomes city property.

 

Been talking to the developer and the property owners. The developer is interested donating land in Teton County, and they are trying to build a land trust.

 

It has never been the policy to pay for the transmission line, but they do have to pay for the connections. It would kill all development otherwise.

 

Question 54: Is over half an engineering plan - a plan or a partially developed idea?

Put a reversion in there that requires a final easement in place, that’s fine.

 

Sen. Kinsky believes this is critical, even over the objections of a few, because “We are out of inventory in Sheridan.”

Question 55: Is that true?

 

SAWS

Kinsky believes that the BOCC was concerned about the airport project because it mattered to them, and they learned about it on the radio. Second, there is a SAWS policy that allows for adjustment to pricing due to leaky pipes.

 

Question 56: Cost picked up by customers for the water that leaks out of un-repaired pipes, how does SAWS reimburses customers for that?


Roberts: The pipe is not leaking, and nobody knows better than the City what the condition of the pipes are as the City operates it. The city has as much of an interest in the condition of the line as SAWS does. There’s been a lot of misconception about the City’s ability to do that I’m not sure where it comes from.

Question 57: Perhaps distrust because of the lack of verifiable facts?

Question 58: Perhaps people paying for water they never receive?

Question 59: Perhaps obstructionist are the only problem? What do you think Sheridan County Citizens?

Sen. Hicks: What was the purpose of the original $4.5M? It was supposed to fix that pipeline, and now you say there isn’t a problem?

 


Roberts: Big difference between leaks and leaking. We have fixed many leaks. There are other pipes that have leaks. This pipe may leak again in the future, and we’ll fix it.

Question 60: Sections with much higher leak rate than the airport transmission line?

Question 61: Doesn't the previous statement imply some leaking on the airport transmission line?

Question 62: Is the City starting to see where the root or source of the confusion stems from?

Question 63: Long term benefit of replacing verse maintain?

Sen. Kinsky briefed Capital Improvement Program. This was a project that was on programmed maintenance, and once it hit $11M to fix, we deferred it out.


Sen. Steinmetz asked for the request: 67% grant of $2.351M fir construction. The commission recommendation, because of the state of the design, we chose not to fund it.

 

Public Comments:


Online comment: Mr. Bryan Miller

 

“Some of our elected bodies are keen to rapidly grow Sheridan in size. I have some key items to share with you. The cart is before the horse from the city and the developer. Not much has changed. We are paying attention to what our leaders are doing with our tax dollars. Our county leaders are not supporting this at this time. Repair and maintenance of existing is more important than new project geared toward growing the city by double.

 

“There are no Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) or Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) permits for the Story House Village (SHV) PUD.”“It is an aberration to add addition sewage and water treatment plants that will not connect to the City’s water infrastructure.”The NE X Line is not necessary, as a water tank would meet the need. This would be at the expense of the developer. The developer has access to build the water tank, and SHV Phase1 can proceed without the NE X Line.”This is another attempt by this developer to secure funding to service $4.2M of debt they have incurred.The city has a goal of developers paying their way for their infrastructure. It look like this is a taxpayer bailout of a developer who is over leveraged.

 

[Public comment ended at 1:11:20]

 

Kolb: What happens is no appropriation?

 

Mead: Will come back next year to ask for funding.

 

Sen. Crago: Move to fund at the 67% grant level (seconded)

 

Discussion: Hicks ? For the director. All projects have been funded by the water board at 50%. Motion should be consistent with all other funding motions at 50%. Making a motion to amend the motion.


Dir. Mead: This is a continuing project from last year. Also had a project funding request that came last year, funding level at only 50%.

 

Hicks: Did the commission approve the funding at 50%?

 

Mead: Yes.

 

Rep. Sommers: What is the proponents ability to pay, given we had a 67% that went to 75%? Can they pay at 50%


Weitzel: We would accept 50-50%

 

Chair: Would this be a friendly amendment to you motion.


Crago: Friendly is fine.


Chair: This will be a 50-50 funding.

 

Vote: Aye, motion passes


Sen. Gierau: Purpose amendment that we put a condition that we get approval from SAWS and the BOCC before the funds can be released. Moved and seconded by Sen. Kolb, among others.

 

Sen. Gierau: Sen. Kinsky presentation helped a lot to bring context. Conversation has given the impression this is not a hurdle that can’t be climbed in the local politics.


Rep. Sommers: What do you think of the condition, doable or not doable?


Weitzel: Two commissioners who had heartburn with this, I think I can convince. They are friends of mine.


Sen. Kolb: There are a couple of things: bring all necessary agreements in place. Say by June to get the agreements in place so we have a date certain.


Follow-up: Right-of-way (ROW) permits. If ROW permits exist in Sheridan, lack of these would halt all progress. Many counties use that as a tool to ensure utilities are not violated. Put a condition on ROW permits and a date of June.


Chair: Handle that as a separate motion.


Crago: Only people who work slower than lawyers is legislators. Already should be done before the money is expended. Should not need a motion for that.


Chair: Is that correct, Director Mead.


Mead: Yes, easements and ROWs must be in place before they can present the project.


Hicks: I hope you can report back to this commission next summer that you are still friends with those commissioners.


Weitzel: I have beers with them occasionally.


Chair: Seeing discussion waning, the motion before the floor is voted.


Sen Gierau’s motion passes. There is a contingency on the funds that the project has to be approved by the BOCC and SAWS JPB.


Crago: If SAWS and the county can provide a letter of support before session next month, do we need to put this in the water bill?


Chair: As having been voted, it will go forward as part of the bill.

 

[Debate ends at 1:25:56]​


For those responding to question, Please, note the question number in your response.

Please comment on this post or send an email to comms@scgop.us.

Together We, Sheridan County & Wyoming, Will Create The Lives. We Deserve.

                      

87 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Audit, County Clerk Case, & Leases: Tuesday BoCC

Regular Board Meeting Agenda Sheridan County Courthouse Addition 224 S. Main St, Second Floor Board Room, #220 Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 9:00 a.m. 1. Call to Order and Pledge. 2. Consent Agenda: See

          © 2023, Sheridan County Republican Party                           Mailing Address: 1590 SUGARLAND DR, B218 SHERIDAN, WY 82801                            Phone: (307) 920-0215                          Email: info@scgop.us                         

bottom of page