The Star Valley Council Thursday night approved entering into an agreement with Brooke Utilities for the next 25 years, though one councilor strongly opposed the license agreement.
Mayor Chuck Heron said the agreement went from a franchise agreement to a license agreement since there were no taxes involved.
Councilor Mary Ann Kotelnicki said she was deeply concerned that the agreement would last for 25 years, adding that while the agreement may be good right now, it may not be in two or three years.
She asked Town Attorney Timothy Grier about the termination clause for this agreement.
Grier said he understood her concern about the length, adding that a previous town attorney put the agreement in place.
Kotelnicki said she thinks the utility company should undergo an annual review.
Heron replied that the county has had an agreement with Brooke Utility for years. The mayor added that the town had the prerogative to terminate the contract for due cause.
Heron also said Brooke Utilities plans to put more infrastructure into the town as it grows and does not want to do that if it was going to be reviewed on an annual basis.
He continued, saying that there are several hundred homes in Star Valley that are currently using the utility company as their water source.
Kotelnicki mentioned the situation in Pine and Strawberry, before adding that the utility company was coming to the town with a very bad reputation.
An upset Bill Rappaport, asked Kotelnicki, "How can you say that?"
As Kotelnicki continued to speak, Rappaport called for the question, and Heron said since the question had been called there could be no more discussion on the topic.
The agreement passed 5-1 with Kotelnicki in dissent. Councilor Art Lloyd was absent from the meeting.
The council also discussed a number of priorities for the new town manager and came up with four priorities: Working on the new town hall, water, the master plan and review of the town code.
The water issue, Heron said, was extremely important as the town's alleged agreement with Payson had some good points as well as some not so good points.
Star Valley representatives will be meeting with Payson at 10 a.m. Monday.
In other news, the Star Valley Council:
- Entered into a deferred compensation agreement with the International City Manager's Association.
- Adopted the revised version of the intergovernmental agreement with the Payson Humane Society.