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SHERIDAN — Sheridan County commissioners met with County Attorney Matt Redle on Thursday to discuss progress on the issue of annexation of county roads by the city, which is one of several topics of concern the county requested to address with the city earlier this year.
The topic was first broached at a City Council work session April 21. Essentially, county commissioners said, there are several county roads contiguous to land annexed by the city that need to also be annexed by the city in order to clarify matters of maintenance and law enforcement.
Examples include portions of Skeels Street, West View Road, Absaraka Street, Loop Road, Dry Ranch Road, County Road 66 and Airport Road. One particular problem on Skeels Street is that the city has annexed only half of the road so patrol and enforcement is split between the police department and the sheriff’s office.
The meeting between Redle and the commissioners was called so that Redle could update the commissioners on a meeting he had with Mayor Dave Kinskey on May 9 to discuss the road annexation issue. That meeting was called because a memo from City Public Works Director Nic Bateson sent May 1 indicated the city wished to terminate a memorandum of understanding between the city and county regarding annexations and roads, which county officials did not wish to do.
Redle, commissioners and county staff discussed several options of how to move forward and solve the issue.
Overall, commissioners agreed that the current MOU works fine for laying out a process for road annexation in new development in the one-mile “donut” of contiguous city and county land. Several commissioners stressed that the MOU works fine if it’s followed properly but said it has broken down because it has not been followed.
County Administrative Director Renee Obermueller said she felt issues of the MOU not being followed could be worked out.
“The second issue that I believe we left with today that we all agree upon is there needs to be a second MOU or an agreement on roads that are in the incorporated one-mile contiguous area that, for all certain purposes, are functioning as city streets but they have not been annexed,” Obermueller said. “That creates issues beyond just ownership. It creates issues for law enforcement, etc. I believe that the next step will be that County Attorney Matt Redle will respond to the mayor with talking points that we left with today and then offer to start a process to develop that second MOU if everyone’s in agreement.”
At this point, Redle will draft a response to Kinskey and the county will prepare information and possible solutions to present to the mayor and city council members at a work session prior to the City Council meeting June 2.