Former LDCC Highlights DeSmet Lease Issues

Members of the former Lake DeSmet Counties Coalition have protested the sale of Sheridan County's sale of water rights since the proposal was first introduced for public review. Dave Clarendon, of the LDCC Joint Powers Board, said he's disappointed in the way negotiations with Johnson County have been addressed.

The LDCC has since been disbanded, and Sheridan County Commissioner, Terry Cram, says Johnson County has hired HKM engineering and some staff members from the former LDCC to run the lake in the mean time. Cram said the board has taken careful measures to assure water rights for agricultural irrigation interests. The county sought outside legal council from Tom Toner, of Yonkee and Toner, LLP, Attorneys at Law, to verify the water interests would be protected.

Clarendon doesn't think the provisions in place are strong enough to provide security for Sheridan County's agricultural interests.

Clarendon emphasized he feels Sheridan County is short-selling their interests in the lake. Furthermore, he cites lack of transparency within negotiation proceedings and confusing actions taken between the counties as points of contention. He said the inconsistencies are ongoing.

Cram responds.

As things stand, it's expected the counties will meet with the G&F in January to consummate the agreement, though payments may not be made until the beginning of Fiscal Year 2014, which will be next July.