Posted 5/10/16 (Tue)
By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer
Watford City revenues will be down about $816,000 this year, but an agreement to surrender those funds may leave open the possibility the city may get those revenues back in the future.
“We signed an agreement, that all Western Area Water Supply Authority (WAWSA) communities have agreed to, which shows our support for reducing the baseline sales payments if need be to make the monthly bond payments,” said Watford City Mayor Brent Sanford.
According to Sanford, the city of Watford City has been receiving about $800,000 per year to compensate for their lost industrial water sales. And, says Sanford, this could be reduced if WAWSA industrial water sales don’t pick up again.
“The agreement was a memorandum agreeing to defer payment for baseline payments during the months of industrial shortfall,” stated Jaret Wirtz, WAWSA executive director. “All communities receiving payments have signed the same agreement. The agreement was signed in order to make monthly interest and principal payments on state guaranteed loans.”
Ever since the oil and gas industry has taken a plunge, WAWSA has been generating less and less revenue from industrial water sales. The authority started making adjustments to its budget in order to safeguard its debt obligations.
To pay for the WAWSA project construction, which has expanded its water services in western North Dakota, participating communities were asked to give up their industrial water sales revenues. The agreement to do so came with the stipulation that these communities would receive payments equal to what they were receiving in revenues in 2010, and the remainder of the sales revenue would then go to support the construction and maintenance of the project.
The communities that signed the agreement include Williston, Crosby, R & T, Ray, Stanley, Tioga, and Watford City, for a total of $4.8 million.
“We are all in this together,” said Wirtz. “McKenzie County and the city of Watford City have benefited tremendously through the infrastructure that was constructed using these loan dollars. It makes sense that we may have to defer payments to them during these times of inadequate revenues due to the economic slowdown from the low oil prices.”