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Water company to do billing for Silver Springs GID

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

Now that the Silver Springs Mutual Water Co. is handling billing and other office support services for the Silver Springs General Improvement District, could a long-awaited merger between the two be far behind?

The Lyon County commissioners, acting as ex officio GID board members, approved a contract with the water company for office and billing services for $3,000 per month.

The water company’s board of directors will consider the contract this week, according to Don Allen, manager of the privately-owned water company.

Lyon County Comptroller Josh Foli said the water company has actually been doing the work since early August, when sewer plant manager Kelli Harkin quit.

“Because of the manager walking out, we actually started on the seventh of August,” Foli said. “It’s been very good so far.”

The part-time office assistant of the GID also left, and the GID office was closed. The two positions together cost $71,853, according to Foli, along with $9,144 in rent for the office. He said the savings will be $44,997 per year.

Allen said the office operations include: billing, answering customer calls and handling will-serves.

The operation of the GID sewer plant will be done by the two remaining plant operators, supervised by Lyon County Utilities director Mike Workman.

Allen said he didn’t know if this was the first step to a merger or not, but in either case, he thinks it’s a good thing.

“I think it’s going to be smooth,” Allen said. “What it does is gets us all working together, and utilities in the same town need to work together. It’s definitely going to cut their expenses down, which they need, and I think it’s going to help everyone out.”

Workman said he had no opinion on whether the contract will make a merger more likely.

He said his department is still looking at sewer capacity the Silver Springs plant, with an eye on getting the customer base up to create a financial reserve.

He said the former GID board sold EDUs or equivalent dwelling units, to property owners to use for future housing development, and the first order of business is to discern how much capacity the plant actually has.

“If you’re at 85 percent of design capacity on paper because you sold prepaid units, it doesn’t make sense to expand capacity when you have this capacity sitting there,” he said. “So we’re looking at how much remaining capacity there is and how many units are in reserve.”

Workman also has continued a hold on an engineering study until late September until he can get control of the system.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.