Sides approach water agreementA joint meeting between the Jamestown City Council and the Stutsman Rural Water District Board of Directors produced an agreement to pursue more discussions and a possible mechanism for reaching a consensus. “This is the biggest progress made in two years,” said Geneva Kaiser, manager of Stutsman Rural Water District.
By: By Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
A joint meeting between the Jamestown City Council and the Stutsman Rural Water District Board of Directors produced an agreement to pursue more discussions and a possible mechanism for reaching a consensus.
“This is the biggest progress made in two years,” said Geneva Kaiser, manager of Stutsman Rural Water District.
The city of Jamestown and Stutsman Rural Water District have been embroiled in a territorial dispute that has centered on the area near Jamestown Regional Medical Center. The agreement framework proposed by Jeff Fuchs, city administrator, would extend any agreement to other areas.
The plan would divide the territory around Jamestown between the city and Rural Water. Drawing up that map would be part of any further negotiations. In the areas designated to Rural Water, it would be responsible for building any water infrastructure and providing service to the customers. The water pipe infrastructure would have to meet city requirements concerning flow and pressure of water necessary for fire-fighting uses.
Rural Water would also purchase the water sold in those areas from the city at the current agreed rate, which is equal to the cost the city charges its own residents.
Fuchs said the city would not be a wholesaler of water to Rural Water because the rate charged is equivalent to its own retail rate.
“We draw boundaries for each,” Fuchs said. “Stutsman would buy water from the city, Rural Water would be responsible for the pipeline.”
The plan was met with some optimism by Rural Water board members.
“The concept is great,” said Joel Lees, SRWD board member. “An agreement that works for all is the goal.”
The agreement concept, which has not been formally adopted by either side, would require a negotiation to determine territorial boundaries. This process would determine which entity would serve the Titan Machinery building under construction to the west of JRMC.
Titan might even be given the option of choosing a water provider. Jamestown water would cost less per 1,000 gallons but the city would charge a large special assessment to bring water pipes to the site. Rural Water charges more per 1,000 gallons but already has working pipes closer to Titan’s new location and would incur less cost for hookup.
The two sides agreed to have engineers review the plan. Rural Water board members were concerned with the requirements to meet city fire code standards especially in areas where it presently provides service.
The productive negotiation session followed a contentious hearing in front of the North Dakota House Appropriations Committee where Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen testified that she could not support a funding bill providing a grant for a Rural Water expansion project.
Andersen was present at the negotiation but did not comment during the proceedings.
The two groups tentatively scheduled a follow-up meeting for Jan. 31 with time and location to be determined.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com