New water service provisions no longer sought by city

Carson City officials pulled a section of proposed charter changes before the matter was taken to the state Senate Government Affairs committee this week.

The Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau advised the city that the water-related changes weren't required because the law already allows for public-private partnerships for water matters, said City Manager Linda Ritter.

The city wanted to update its charter provisions for providing water service. A major feature would be to allow outside agreements to acquire or sell water, rights, infrastructure, and enter into agreements with other public or private partners.

"We are told water is gold - which should mean this liquid gold belongs to the public," said resident Bruce Kittess, who is opposed to the changes and read a three-page opposition letter to the Board of Supervisors on Thursday.

"I want the water and wastewater systems to remain in the ownership and operation of our municipal, nonprofit government accountable to the citizens of Carson and not to the stockholders of a for-profit corporation," Kittess also said.

When he learned about the teaming agreement between the city and Vidler Water Comp., he was worried.

Vidler specializes in locating, developing and converting water rights. Specific projects that appear viable would be brought back to the supervisors for their approval.

Water projects aren't excluded but the focus would be wastewater because the city's Brunswick Reservoir is leaking. How to better purify the water, then sell it in a cost-effective manner is what the company is looking into.

His other concerns about the change include private corporations pulling out if an agreement isn't profitable and that the city would end up with a large bill or a costly lawsuit to battle.

Also at the state committee meeting was Dwight Millard, an area developer.

"The concept is not a bad concept," he said. There just has to be adequate assurances that eventual deals are "transparent" and that "everybody is playing the game on the same field."

Though Kittess was glad to see the water part of the charter change request pulled, he's worried that it might come back to the Legislature at the end of this session as a rider on another bill or during the next session.

"We're not bringing it back," she said of the water related updates.

Other charter changes the city still seeks include how to replace the mayor if he or she dies in office.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.


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