By Kay Braddock
A Dec. 13 letter drafted by Buffalo Rapids district II commissioners and presented to BR district I commissioners during last week’s regular meeting, will disband a 1959 BR Board of Control contract that unified the two districts into one irrigation project.
The letter, signed by all three commissioners, stated that district II “is withdrawing from the agreement which established the Buffalo Rapids Board of Control …”.
It comes on the heels of a super majority vote where 44 of the 48 votes cast by district II water uses said they supported the split. Water users returned votes in late Dec. of last year.
Nobody was confrontational, said district I commissioner Ric Holden of the meeting in which the letter was presented.
“It was pretty congenial,” Holden said in an interview a day after the meeting. He noted that although he initially did not support the idea of splitting the project, due to financial concerns, he believes the majority of district I water users support the split. No vote has been taken by district I water users.
“We accept that, and we’ll just work forward to make things run smoothly as much as we can in the next year,” Holden said of district II’s decision to withdraw from the BR Board of Control.
Currently each district is working on a separate 2010 budget, with commissioners from each district meeting with BR secretary Pat Davis to establish the budget. Holden noted that in previous years the BR project manger and secretary had completed this task.
Don Buxbaum and Barry Rakes, each serving as presidents of their respective districts, are now also serving as interim project managers.
Holden pointed out that the two are receiving minimal compensation for travel expenses incurred, but no other compensation for their time.
The job of seeking a new project manager has yet to begin, and will likely remain on the back burner until budget details are ironed out along with union negotiations and details on how to split materials, supplies and equipment.
“Even though we’re splitting, we’re going to be together up into the fall,” Holden said.
Published Jan. 20, 2010