Annexation imminent?

DEADWOOD – The Deadwood City Commission Oct. 7 moved to issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for developing a plan to extend water and sewer infrastructure into Boulder Canyon.

“This is a request for qualifications to, essentially enter into contract with a design firm that can put together a plan to extend water and sewer into Boulder Canyon with an infrastructure that would have a capacity to handle all private development between current city limits and Oakridge Cemetery,” said Public Works Director Bob Nelson, Jr. “This is a partnership with Lead-Deadwood Sanitary District. Right now this doesn’t cost you any money. We would have to get to a point where we even entertain their proposals and negotiate a contract and bring it forward if you want to pursue it. I’m of the opinion that eventually we need a plan. That’s all I think we’re really going to hear. Where does it run? How much does it cost?”

Commissioner Gary Todd said eventually one of these days the city will be at that point, but that right now, there are other areas of focus requiring funding.  

“My only question is costs,” Todd said. “We just passed our budget. I am not for supplementing our budgets to do the study. I think we have some expenditures coming up for … flood damage and so forth that we need to prepare for, and I think it’s something we’re going to need, eventually, and I don’t have any idea what we’re talking about for costs, and I’m not for spending much money on something we don’t absolutely need at this time.”

Nelson said he would at least like to go through the proposal and negotiation process.

“And if it’s a cost share with the sanitary district and we get some professional services and public works, water, sewer, whatever, I think staff would appreciate to have a plan on the shelf,” Nelson said.

Mayor David Ruth, Jr. said this step in the process doesn’t obligate the city to spend any money. 

“All this does is gets us a list of engineering firms that’ll say, ‘We’ll do that for this price.’” Ruth said. “Which is something we have to consider when somebody says, ‘I want to develop’ or ‘I want to buy water,’ we need to know, ‘OK, what’s it gonna’ cost?’ and the first cost is going to be somebody putting pencil to paper and developing that engineer’s assessment.” 

Commissioner Sharon Martinisko said the Lead-Deadwood Sanitary District is 100% behind this and one of the big reasons is because they need to be selling water. 

Finance officer Jessicca McKeown said in the case of the capital improvement plan, it would be nice to attach numbers to the different aspects of the project. 

Boulder Canyon resident Bill Pearson was in attendance at the meeting and addressed the commission.

“I’d like to suggest that maybe the city should have an annexation study prepared for the people out there in Boulder Canyon, so you can get their input along with the city’s input,” Pearson said. “I mean, obviously, this is a precursor to annexation. … I believe you should do that at this point, before it gets too far along.”

“That would be something we move toward, also, after we get these numbers,” Ruth said. 

“I mean, we wouldn’t provide services out there, unless it was annexed, correct?” Todd asked.

“Correct. We couldn’t,” Ruth said. 

Nelson said, currently, within the city limits, commissioners would be talking about the 163 acres of Costner’s, the 20-something acres at the slag pile, and potentially, 74 acres that has a pending annexation agreement right now. 

“So, other than that, everything beyond it is not, currently,” Nelson said.  

The issue is expected to be discussed at the Dec. 16 meeting.

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