Kurt Hildebrand

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August 29, 2013
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Court may require water system takeover

An injunction was granted Tuesday prohibiting the owners of the Sierra Country Estates’ water system from operating it.

Marsha and Bill Tomerlin filed notice they wouldn’t contest the injunction sought by the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection.

The state also asked District Judge Tod Young to appoint Douglas County the receiver for the water system.

Deputy District Attorney Doug Ritchie asked that Young continue the order until after a Sept. 5 Douglas County commissioners meeting.

County commissioners have discussed the water system, which has been under state scrutiny for years, but have yet to agree to take it over.

Deputy Attorney General Kate Armstrong said she believes the county would have accept receivership of the water system if Young issues the order.

Richey said he disagreed that the county would have to take charge of the water system.

Also appearing in court on Tuesday was attorney Jessica C. Prunty, representing the Sierra Country Estates Home Owners Association.

The association is seeking language in the receivership order that would provide them guarantees that the county wouldn’t try to repair the water system on the backs of the users.

“It’s not the intention to seek veto power,” Prunty said. “The homeowners’ concerns is that there is a very expensive price tag. It’s a lot of money should it be passed down to the homeowners.”

Prunty said residents want to make sure the county pursues any grants of loans that would be available to help defray the costs.

On Thursday commissioners will discuss the possible acquisition of the water system and the possibility of a $100,000 loan from the general fund to improve cash flow. Also on the agenda for next week is the possible establishment of an enterprise fund to account for finances and operation of the water company.

While water coming from the system’s wells is safe to drink, it requires treatment to keep from damaging the pipes.

Young told Ritchie that an order to take over the water system would take effect 5 p.m. Friday unless the county filed an objection because commissioners rejected taking over the system.

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The Record Courier Updated Aug 29, 2013 06:26PM Published Aug 31, 2013 05:39PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.