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Kari Lucin, Forum News Service , Published June 11 2013

Rural water board meeting next step in resolving dispute

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – The territorial dispute between Stutsman Rural Water District and the city of Jamestown is drawing to an end after seven months of meetings, frustration and threats of litigation.

“I’m glad we’re finally getting to an agreement and serving the people,” said Terry Nieland, chairman of the Stutsman Rural Water Board of Directors.

The board scheduled a special meeting for 9 a.m. Monday at Stutsman Rural Water to approve an agreement between Stutsman Rural Water and the city.

It will be open to the public, and the Rural Water Board will likely vote to approve the agreement and then sign it at the meeting.

That will be another step in ending the sometimes-bitter dispute concerning which organization should provide water to Titan Machinery’s new building – as well the area around the Jamestown Regional Medical Center, which is expected to be a hotspot for future development.

The basic agreement between the city and Stutsman Rural Water was announced April 17, and since then both sides have been specifying the contract’s details.

Essentially, the contract allows the city and Rural Water to swap territory, giving Titan to Rural Water and an area south of the airport to the city of Jamestown. Territorial boundaries between the two groups would be set at the 2010 Jamestown city limits.

After representatives of Rural Water and the city sign the agreement, it will go to the North Dakota Public Finance Authority and then to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development for signatures.

Rural Water Manager Geneva Kaiser said she hoped the groups involved in the dispute would be able to move forward “to a better relationship in the future.”