SWEETWATER COUNTY- New life was breathed into the animal know as the Jamestown water line on Tuesday morning as members of the Jamestown-Rio Vista Water District sought support from the Sweetwater County Commissioners.
News about the long-standing debt between the district and the state was confirmed as Jamestown-Rio Vista Water District Vice President Kael Jasperson told the commissioners the state has forgiven the debt.
Commission John Kolb said he had heard that the debt forgiveness came with an order from the State Land and Investment Board to not come back. Jasperson said this was not true and the door was still open but the reception was not exactly warm.
Japerson also wanted to clear the air about the rumor that it was the district who wasted the resources and caused the problems. “The problem was caused by bankruptcy from several large developers who didn’t follow through,” Jasperson told the board.
After the small talk, representatives of the water district explained they were looking for financial and vocal support on the water line project moving forward. The District also has had Sunrise Engineering, of Afton, working on the project for several months now.
Jasperson explained that after so much trouble with the state, the Water Development Commission has agreed to fund 67 percent of the $8.5 million project. At first Jasperson said he did not want to give the commissioner a an exact figure but later through the presentation gave a number of $30,000-to-$45,000 to get the project finished.
Jasperson also said the district would do property value assessments and the project would need the vote of the residents to go forward.
Kolb pointed at this fact explaining it would give the commissioners a financial guarantee on the project if it was approved by the vote of the residents in the district.
During the budget session this year, the Sweetwater County Commissioners made a new line item for district assistance. Commissioner Gary Baliff said this was exactly why they created the line item but explained there was only about $15,000 left.
Both Commissioners Reid West and Chairman Wally Johnson agreed they should not finance a portion of the project but instead look at a budget amendment to fund the entire request.
Commissioners Reid West and Don Van Matre both said the district needs to produce a business plan before being given any money. Jasperson said he would love to set up a time to show them all the ten years of research that has been done on the project.
Chairman Johnson also challenged Green River and the Joint Power Water Board to stand next to the Jamestown District. Johnson stressed that this line will help bring Green River’’s ideas about expansion closer to reality. “I listened to (Mayor) Hank Castillon say how this expansion is very important to growth in Green River,” Johnson said. “They need to be standing right here next to you.”