SHERIDAN — Members of the Sheridan Area Water Supply Joint Powers Board discussed at length Wednesday the possibility of the city of Sheridan and the SAWS board submitting a joint application for funds that would be used to purchase shares of stored water in Park Reservoir.
No action was taken on the matter, but a special session has been tentatively scheduled at 8:30 a.m. Monday to take a vote on a resolution authorizing the application for funds, SAWS Project Manager Dan Coughlin said. City Council, County Commission and SAWS must each vote on the resolution.
The deadline to apply for Level III funding from the Wyoming Water Development Commission is Oct. 1.
The city and SAWS would jointly apply for a total of $5,628,000 from the WWDC. If approved by the state Legislature, the WWDC funds would be placed into a WWDC managed account and used along with $2,772,000 of city and SAWS long-term water supply reserve funds to purchase shares of water in Park Reservoir.
The total amount of $8.4 million would purchase up to 2,000 acre-feet of Park Reservoir water at $4,200 per acre-foot or $5,040 per share.
If approved for water commission funding, WWDC funds would cover 67 percent of the purchases while city and SAWS funds would cover 33 percent.
Likewise, ownership of the water shares would be split 67 percent for Sheridan and 33 percent for SAWS.
For example, if three shares were purchased, the city would own two shares and SAWS would own one share.
Coughlin said the city and SAWS have approximately $4.1 million in their long-term water supply reserve fund that can be used to purchase water supplies.
Coughlin said there is not currently a big block of water that people are wanting to sell to SAWS and Sheridan, but that every now and then someone will come forward and see if the entities are interested. If the entities have a purchase program in place with combined WWDC and long-term water supply reserve funds available for use, they will be able to respond to the sale offer, Coughlin said. Previously, because there were not designated funds or a purchase program in place, the city and SAWS were unable to respond to such offers.
If the application for WWDC funds is approved, the city and SAWS may also try to identify prospective sellers for shares of water in Park Reservoir.
The discussion about purchasing more water in Park Reservoir has been ongoing but was kicked up a notch after completion of a Level II, Phase II study done by EnTech, Inc., Professional Engineers. EnTech engineer Dave Engels presented the results of the study at Wednesday’s SAWS meeting and recommended pursuing the purchase of water shares in Park Reservoir.
Engels will also brief City Council and County Commission on the study in coming weeks.
In other business, the SAWS board:
• approved a contract with Mike’s Electric for a total of $3,600 to install upgraded pumps and electrical systems at two booster stations in near failure condition. To date, the city has “Band-aided” the stations to keep them running but it was decided the pumps needed to be upgraded as soon as possible, Coughlin said. Replacement equipment is on its way.
• approved loan draft requests for loans used in conventional treatment upgrades at the water treatment plants that had received city and SAWS staff approval but not SAWS board approval, a requirement discovered in a review of the paperwork. The board also voted to allow administrative approval of loan draft requests with board approval to follow in the next SAWS meeting in order to not slow down the funding and payment process, Coughlin said.