Sv Returns Well To Benjamin

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With the pending purchase of a 360-hookup water system, Star Valley no longer needs to collect wells to defend its water supply or fight fires.

On the heels of the water company transfer, the council Feb. 7 agreed to give back a 200-foot well.

The Chris Benjamin family originally gave the town the well in 2007 to help provide fire protection.

Since the town did not have the area’s water rights at the time, it could not distribute the water for drinking, but it could have pumped it to fight fires.

After five years, the town never tapped the Benjamins’ well.

A contract for the well stipulated that the agreement would automatically renew every five years unless either party requested termination.

Five years came and went Jan. 4 with neither party requesting an end.

Town Manager Tim Grier said the town had forgotten about the contract and gave no notice when the five-year renewal arrived.

Several weeks ago, however, the Benjamins notified the town that they wanted the well back.

Since the contract had been renewed automatically, the council had to approve ending it.

At the Feb. 7 council meeting, the council met briefly in executive session to discuss the issue, ultimately deciding to return the well.

The town will cover any costs to transfer the well back.

The Benjamins were among a group of homeowners who banded together years ago to protect the area’s water supply.

In 2005, the town incorporated to fight off Payson’s pumping of the Tower Well, which many believed would suck Star Valley’s water supply dry. But since then, nearly everything has changed in the small town of 2,300.

With the $775,000 purchase of Brooke Utilities in May, the town is finally in control of its water destiny.

The town of Star Valley now has the water rights to the area, which means it has the power to discover, drill and deliver water to customers.

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