Lyon County leaves Silver Springs GID unchanged
August 22, 2005
The Silver Springs General Improvement District remains intact after Lyon County commissioners declined to take it over.
An informal petition signed by 155 residents accused the Silver Springs board of mismanagement.
The petition asked Lyon commissioners to remove the five board members and give the county control of the sewage district.
The petition, presented by Ray and Virginia Johnson of Silver Springs, was not an official petition because it did not contain addresses of signers, explained commission Chairman Bob Milz.
Ray Johnson said it was a letter and never meant as a formal petition, and it stemmed from the GID board’s inability to combine with the water company as well as violations of open meeting and other statutes.
“It’s been an ongoing situation for at least 18 months where the board has been making very poor decisions,” he said.
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“They’re just not concerned with running a utility that’s a $12 million investment.”
GID Chairwoman Robin Harina said the accusations of mismanagement were unfounded, and she was satisfied with the commissioners’ response.
“The county oversees our budget, and we finished our fiscal year with a $159 deficit, so we basically balanced our budget,” she said.
Johnson worked for the county before the sewer system was placed under local control in April 2002, he said. He said the GID and water company should be combined.
“They promised 18 months ago that they were going to combine the water and sewer, which is as it should be,” he said.
“But this board cannot get together, they cannot work problems out and there’s been all kinds of charges back and forth.”
“Unless there was some hard evidence of wrongdoing or if the they can’t meet their budget, the county’s not going to be taking them over,” Milz said.
Johnson alleged that the GID had a $120,000 deficit in its operating budget that was being met on paper with money from capital improvement fees.
He said the GID board has proposed a rate increase that will increase sewer bills by $10 per month.
According to Harina, neither the Johnsons nor anyone else had brought their concerns to the GID board.
“We said at the meeting that we welcomed any of their input at any of our meetings,” Harina said.
Johnson said the commissioners’ response to the letter was what he expected.
“As I saw it they’re not going to get in the middle of this,” he said.
“They want the battle to take place in Silver Springs.”
Milz said several Silver Springs residents at the meeting spoke in support of the GID, and he saw no need for county action.
“We do think they need to raise their rates,” he said. “They’re using a rate of $12.20 or $12.30 a month and it just isn’t enough. That fee was set in 1997.”
n Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.