The Basin Water and Sewer District operator and clerk has resigned, prompting a possible arrangement with the City of Boulder to run the system until a replacement can be found. 

Nissa Manley submitted her resignation, which was announced at the Nov. 4 meeting. 

The Board also agreed to put  Mike Jellison on the Board, replacing Byrne Manley who resigned in July. It is an interim position, as the full term will go up for a vote in May, said District Board Chairperson MJ Williams. 

Manley, who had worked for the District for four years and holds certifications in both wastewater and drinking water, stated in her resignation that the recent harassment from a few individuals in the community concerning the ongoing controversy over the Quartz Avenue pump house and water meter project had led to her decision, said Williams. 

“People have been less than generous. This is painful for us to come to this juncture,” said Williams of the controversy that erupted in July and has been ongoing since. 

The Board had also recently learned that the water meters were not necessary for the type of loan it is pursuing to pay for putting the Quartz Avenue pump house back online and fixing the existing curb stops. The potential for adding water meters, and being charged for the amount of water used, had raised the ire of some in the community, as did the $12 fee for unimproved lots. The rate structure had been changed in April, and implemented in June, to pay for the debt service on the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation loan that the Board is seeking to obtain. 

Upon the request of the community, the Board agreed to reconsider the $12 fee at the Dec. 8 meeting. 

The clerk and operator position has been posted in the Basin Post Office and is also in the Boulder Monitor. 

Lynora Rogstad with Midwest Assistance Program was also on hand at the meeting to offer assistance with the transition. 

Rogstad said she’s spoken with Boulder Mayor Rusty Giulio and Director of Public Works, Dennis Wortman, about drafting a memorandum of understanding between the District and the city to help Basin operate its water system until a replacement for Manley can be found.

Rogstad had planned to host a meeting with residents, along with beer and pizza, on Thursday, Nov. 12, 6-8 p.m.  but that was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. 

Rogstad said she wants to listen to the concerns of the residents as it has gotten to the point of being personal between the Board and the community. 

This format might provide some insight, said Rogstad, adding that her role will be that of a neutral party. 

Midwest Assistance Program Inc. assists rural drinking water, wastewater and solid waste utilities in finding solutions to their infrastructure needs, according to its website.

Williams said MAP is contracted by the state of Montana to provide free assistance to small and rural water systems and that Basin has worked with them for years. 

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