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Council asks city attorney to work on new water agreement

Posted 9/16/09 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Watford City’s City Council took a very tentative first step forward on the concept of bringing treated municipal water from the Williston Water Treatment Plant to Watford City during its regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 7.
While the council directed the city attorney to pursue options and negotiations that would be needed to bring Williston water to Watford City, the council noted that the information that the attorney gathered would be necessary before the council itself would decide whether or not to take the issue to the voters of Watford City. Under state law, Watford City voters would have to approve any changes in their water supply source.
“It’s hard to have a vote without the details,” stated Wyatt Voll, city attorney as he outlined to the council the options that could possibly bring Williston water to Watford City.
“It’s an interesting issue,” stated Voll. “But in order to move forward, the city council would ultimately have to pass a resolution endorsing the concept. But more importantly the city needs to have a path to follow as it explores the option.”
According to Voll, one option that the city could have is to have the McKenzie County Rural Water District act for the city. But he also questions whether or not that option is legal.
“The best option would be for the legislature to create the new water district,” stated Voll. “Having the legislature create an Upper Missouri Water District, as they did with the Southwest Water District, would be the best way to go.”
But waiting for the next legislative session to act on creating a  new water district may mean that Watford City would miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of planned water expansion from the Williston water plant into McKenzie County.
“Our concern is that any planned expansion by the McKenzie County Water District from the Williston treatment plant into McKenzie County be built to accommodate our needs,” stated Brent Sanford, councilman. “But we can’t go forward or commit to the expansion until we have an election.”
And likewise, according to Councilman Shane Homiston, the McKenzie County Water District needs to know whether or not the city is on board.
“It is my understanding that a new agency needs to be formed to purchase the Williston water treatment plant and the distribution system that would encompass all of the cities and rural water systems involved in the discussions,” stated Kent Pelton, city mayor.
According to Pelton, what the city council is asking its attorney to do is  help develop the framework of that new agency and assist in developing the costs associated with the new water district.
“Once we have the information, we will know whether or not it is right for us to proceed any further and to take the issue to a vote of the people,” stated Pelton.
In other business, the city council:
• Approved a Zoning Variance Application submitted by McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 to allow for a pole-mounted electric school/community bulletin board to be installed at 100 3rd Street NE.
• Approved a Zoning Variance Application submitted by Dave Hansen for a rear yard setback variance for the purpose of constructing a shop/garage on property located at 625 Sunset Drive.
• Denied a Conditional Use Permit submitted by Candida Felts for the purpose of operating a home daycare at 721 2nd Avenue NE.
• Approved a Zoning Variance Application submitted by Lyle Bruins for a rear yard setback variance for the purpose of constructing a garage on property located at 329 4th Street NW.
• Took no action on a Zone Change Application submitted by Lyle Bruins for the purpose of rezoning property located at 109 Park Avenue W from R-1 to R-2 to allow for the construction of a duplex.
• Tabled discussion on amending the 2006 International Residential Code regulation to exclude foundations bearing directly on soil.
• Approved the purchase of a computer server for City Hall from Abel Enterprises for $5,210.61.
• Discussed the possibility of installing additional stop signs on  Main Street.
• Approved increasing the city’s  mileage reimbursement for city employees to match the state rate effective Aug. 1, 2009.
• Approved payment of a $10,000 Energy Impact Office grant to the McKenzie County Ambulance for a Physio-Control Life Pac 510.
• Approved renewing a certificate of deposit in the amount of $400,000 at McKenzie County Bank for six  months at 1.76 percent interest.
• Approved making improvements on 11th Street SE and at the elementary school parking lot to eliminate dust problems.
• Approved the first reading of a limited franchise agreement with McKenzie Electric Cooperative.
• Approved a Special Permit submitted by the American Legion Club to put up a cattle corral and canopy behind the American Legion on their property and serve alcohol on Sept. 19 from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. for the North Dakota State Legion Commander Homecoming.
• Approved a Special Permit submitted by Mike Tschetter and D & M’s Office to serve alcohol at the Veterans Memorial Building for the Tschetter/Filler wedding dance on Oct. 3 from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.  Motion seconded by Valenzuela and carried unanimously.
• Approved a Special Permit submitted by Pheasants Forever and D & M’s Office to serve alcohol at the Veterans Memorial Building for the McKenzie County Pheasants Forever  Banquet on Oct. 10 from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.
• Approved raffle permit applications for the Watford City High School Close-Up, McKenzie County Pheasants Forever, and the Watford City Lions Club.
• Approved hiring Kelsey Tweit as a VOE student effective Aug. 31.
• Approved Mayor Pelton’s appointments of Brent Sanford and Jim Svihovec to the Roughrider Fund Committee for 3-year terms from Oct. 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2012; and Bruce Erickson to the Watford City Housing Authority for a 5-year term from Sept. 6, 2009 to Sept. 6, 2014.
• Agreed to review the Montana-Dakota Utilities franchise agreement.
The next meeting of the Watford City City Council will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5.