The City Commission had voiced concerns over only having one representative on the Butler County Water Coordinating Committee
A new Butler County Water Coordinating Committee continues to be a topic of discuss for the El Dorado City Commission.
The committee was formed earlier this year with representatives from several communities in the county coming together to discuss water needs. Part of that included the cities each passing a resolution for the committee as well as appointing a member.
The City Commission had voiced concerns over only having one representative on the committee, as well as the purpose of the committee since the city of El Dorado owns the water in the lake.
“There has been a lot of discussion about the El Dorado Lake being for the county,” said City Manager Herb Llewellyn.
Commissioner Chase Locke asked about the resolution, saying he read it to say they can propose policy to the Butler County Commission.
“In the end, wouldn’t that affect us?” he asked.
Jim Murfin, city attorney, said that was the important issue in this. He pointed out one paragraph that states a notion the committee can establish powers and duties, which leaves it ambiguous if some powers or duties that could be negative to the city could be established.
Murfin suggested some changes to the resolution making their participation in the committee be strictly to exchange ideas with none binding on the city.
“I think it’s a good deal to have conversation and to be good neighbors, but I definitely want to protect our interest in what is best for our citizens,” Locke said.
Locke also supported Mayor Mike Fagg being their representative on the committee.
“Why didn’t we do this a month ago?” Fagg asked. “We’re the only ones that didn’t approve it. I think we should have been a little more timely on when we answered.”
Murfin said at some of the more recent staff meetings he was party to was when these issues were raised with a little more focus, saying the evaluation of documents take place over time.
“I take a little exception to that,” Llewellyn added. “The last time this board talked about it, they gave instruction to ask for two spots. You did that. Butler County was going to take that under advisement. Time is going on normally. It was only recently that they said ‘thank you, no.’ I don’t know when you think you would have done this sooner than this.”
Fagg said they should have brought it up when they were talking about the resolution before.
Fagg went on to talk about the city having two representatives.
“I know how some of you felt about two representatives on the committee,” he said. “I talked with all of the mayors except Douglass and two County Commissioners. They will do what we are asking. I’ve got permission to have two people on here at this point. It’s not official.”
Murfin said if they were changing the resolution to have two representatives, they could change the language to be more protective as well.
“What I thought was when we have our first meeting if we signed this, they have given assurance they would vote a new member in at that time,” Fagg said. “That saved everybody from having to redo a resolution.”
“I read that resolution. After reading more minutes and seeing published comments from other people in all different forms of government in the county, I read it a little bit differently than the county,” Locke said. “I am getting the idea where some people’s heads are at. I appreciate you getting the second person, but I would rather make sure we are more protected with whatever we are agreeing to on a piece of paper and trust you than have a second person.”
Commissioner Bill Young suggested making Murfin’s recommended changes to the resolution, as well as adding the second person.
Locke agreed he appreciated Fagg’s work on getting the second person, but still had concerns about comments from some people in the county about who is entitled to what.
Locke then made a motion to approve the resolution with the recommended changes and the addition of a second representative, as well as appointing Fagg and Young to be the city’s representatives. It was approved 5-0.
Julie Clements can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org