Gillette City Council Issues Statement on Amendment to Omnibus Water Bill
Press Release – During the most recent legislative session, the 2018 Omnibus Water Bill was passed. As in year’s past, it has contained funds earmarked for the continued financing of the Gillette Regional Water Supply project. An amendment, advanced by Senator Ogden Driskill, substantially changed how water from the Gillette Regional Water Project could be used, how water could be allocated, and who was financially responsible for the water produced. With these changes, the City of Gillette finds itself unable to enter into the most recent grant funding agreement. Quite simply, there are far too many contradictions in the grant applications, prior legislation, and Wyoming law to allow the City to execute the document.
The Gillette Regional Water Supply Project is vital to the continued growth and prosperity of Gillette and Campbell County. It served not only the residents and businesses in Gillette but is also the current and future source of water for many subdivision in rural Campbell County. Until the contradictions in the amendment to the Omnibus Water Bill are rectified, the project will be delayed.
Attached to this release are two documents. The first is a list of talking points and concerns with the “Driskill Amendment”. The second is a more detailed explanation of why each of these points has lead the Gillette City Council to this difficult decision.
For more information contact Communications Manager Geno Palazzari at (307) 686-5393.
2018 WYO. SESS. LAWS CH. 121 ISSUES
On June 15, 2018, the City testified in front of the Select Water Committee in Pinedale, Wyoming. At the meeting the City provided the Committee with a detailed letter addressing the legal and practical issues associated with Senator Driskill’s Amendment to the 2018 Omnibus Water Bill. Below is a list of these issues and a brief explanation.
1. THE PROVISION REQUIRES THE CITY TO SUPPLY WATER OUTSIDE THE CITY’S SERVICE AREA AND TO CHARGE LOWER RATES TO CUSTOMERS IN CROOK COUNTY THAN CITY CUSTOMERS, CONTRARY TO WYOMING LAW.
2. PROVIDING CROOK COUNTY RESIDENTS WITH WATER UNDER THE TERMS OF THE PROVISION IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE CITY’S SPECIFIC PURPOSE EXCISE TAX.
3. PROVIDING CROOK COUNTY, WYOMING RESIDENTS WITH WATER UNDER THE TERMS OF THE PROVISION IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE GILLETTE REGIONAL WATER SUPPLY SYSTEM JOINT POWERS AGREEMENT.
4. THE TERMS OF THE WATER BILL ARE INCONSISTENT WITH THE PROVISION. THE CITY WILL DEFAULT ON ITS FUNDING AGREEMENTS WITH THE WYOMING WATER DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION IF IT ALLOWS THE RESIDENTS OF CROOK COUNTY TO USE THE WATER FOR LIVESTOCK AND MISCELLANEOUS PURPOSES.
5. SERVING CROOK COUNTY RESIDENTS WAS NEVER CONTEMPLATED BY THE WWDC IN ANTICIPATION OF THE PROJECT.
6. THE CITY IS NOT AUTHORIZED TO SUPPLY THE WATER CONTEMPLATED IN THE PROVISION UNTIL THE INVESTIGATION BY WYOMING DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY IS COMPLETE.