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By Karla Pomeroy
Editor 

County resident brings grievance on city rates to commissioners

 

January 23, 2020



WORLAND — Washakie County and Mountain View Subdivision resident Bill Hill came before the Washakie County commissioners to express his frustration with what he considered unfair treatment by the Worland City Council.

The council recently passed on three readings an ordinance increasing sewer rates for non-city residents to establish a depreciation reserve for future line maintenance and replacement. The non-city residents receiving the rate increase are in the service areas of Hillcrest, South Flat, Packerville, Sunset, Mountain View, Sorensen Industrial and Lane 14.

The funds will be allocated only for lines in these areas and will only be used for projects that exceed the sum of $12,000.

Hill said he understands that statute allows the city to establish a depreciation reserve account but said everyone should be assessed the same fee. He will be assessed an additional $12.88 and city residents are not being assessed the same fee.

He said the reason Mountain View is part of the sewer system is through an intergovernmental contract agreement with five other sewer districts, the city and Washakie County.

The agreement was signed in 1983 with all parties indicating “their intent as to participation in the proposed wastewater treatment and collection facilities.”

“The way I see it, Washakie County residents are being unfairly targeted because the City of Worland interprets the depreciation reserve for a county sewer customer differently than they do for a city resident. I’m astounded by that. The state statute sees us as equal citizens of Wyoming,” Hill said.

He said the issue is not the $12.88, which he considered “not a noteworthy amount.”

Hill added, however, “My personal conclusion is that the City of Worland historically demonstrated a predatory agenda to artificially inflate their population number and their income by several misdirected annexation attempts directed at Washakie County legally established sewer and water districts. And my impending $12.88 a month assessment, on a previously established sewer district, for their benefit, is another indication that the City of Worland, considers their Washakie County neighbors as their cash cow of sustainability.”

He said he realizes that the depreciation reserve comes down to legal interpretation but “it just doesn’t seem fair.”

Commissioner Aaron Anderson asked for a copy of the 1983 intergovernmental agreement and a copy of the state statute Hill referenced.

Chairman Fred Frandson said he agreed with Hill that it is a legal issue and the commission is not a board that provides legal opinion.

Hill concluded, “Thanks for listening to my concerns. I really debated about saying anything. I think as a citizen I was compelled to say something because I don’t think it’s right. I’m willing to pay the cost because I think the service is wonderful.” He added however that the cost of providing that service, which he believes is “somewhat contrary to what I think state statute would dictate,” concerns him as an individual.

 
 

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