Commission leaves Silver Springs GID intact
Appeal Staff Writer
The Silver Springs sewage system is still in the hands of the General Improvement District – for now.
The Lyon County commissioners have directed District Attorney Leon Aberasturi to research the law on whether the commissioners could legally reorganize the board by relieving the current trustees of their duties and becoming ex-officio GID trustees themselves.
Residents filled one side of the commissioners’ meeting room to express both support and dissatisfaction with the GID, citing alleged mismanagement issues, staff and board turnover and an inability to meet long-standing goals.
They cited failure to follow through with plans such as collecting overdue fees, expanding the treatment plant capacity, renewing an agreement with the Silver Springs Airport for effluent disposal, removal of risers on property that had been sold and merging with the Silver Springs Municipal Water Co.
Each side had about a half-dozen residents speak at the meeting.
Aberasturi said he believed the commissioners could dissolve the GID and have Lyon County Utilities take over the Silver Springs system, but said he had not had time to research whether the board could simply reorganize the GID and serve themselves as trustees.
The board also rejected a request by the GID to have the county perform engineering and inspection services at the treatment plant. County Manager Donna Kristaponis said she didn’t want county employees to have to take direction from a board that might not be “speaking with one voice.”
Commissioner Bob Milz said the GID was “not getting things done and not serving the public properly.”
Commissioner Chet Hillyard, who represents Silver Springs and is running for re-election, said he worked for 20 years to get the GID.
“Now it’s suddenly a train wreck,” he said. “I don’t know where to go from here.”
GID board members Bill Holler and Bob Freeman, both of whom are running for re-election, insisted that things were running smoothly and that complaints about the board were the results of bickering among residents.
“We had our three-year review, and it was glowing,” Freeman said. “We came in right on budget. People who are throwing a fit are doing so because they did not get their way.”
But Silver Springs Chamber of Commerce President Bill Coddick blamed disputes among the board for chasing business out of the area.
“We just recently got (Builder’s Choice) in Silver Springs that will employ 150 people,” he said. “Another was going to come in, but they went elsewhere. It’s getting hard to attract people to Silver Springs.”
Kay Bennett, a manager of the Silver Springs Airport, urged the commissioners to take over the GID, which she called “poisonous.”
County Commissioner candidate Pat Geurtz encouraged the commissioners not to reorganize the GID.
“What we heard today should be taken back to the (GID) board to be resolved,” he said. “Getting the commissioners involved, that’s a large leap.”
Milz said that once Aberasturi has completed his research, the commissioners may take up the same issue in the future.
“This bickering has got to stop,” he said. “It’s not doing anyone any good.”
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.