Two canceled meetings are the focus of the latest battle in the war between Sandy City and the Salt Lake County Water Conservancy District.
The district canceled its scheduled Jan. 19 board meeting after receiving a letter from Sandy Mayor Steve Newton requesting time on the agenda to discuss alternative means of financing a 30,000-acre-foot water-rights purchase.Also canceled earlier was a Jan. 13 executive committee meeting.
Sandy and its mayor had previously sued the district, seeking clarification of various legal issues, including whether the district can stop Sandy from withdrawing as a member.
The suit resulted in withdrawal of the district's bond rating for a $23 million bond issue that would include money for the Welby-Jacob water-rights purchase, so the bond issue is hanging fire.
Newton told the Sandy City Council last week he wanted to talk to the district about a way to let the part of the bond sale involving Welby-Jacob proceed.
But he said it appears that district officials were more concerned about not giving him a forum than about getting the Welby-Jacob purchase done.
District General Manager Robert Hilbert denied that accusation. He said Newton's letter made no mention of dropping or amending the lawsuit and talked only about alternative financing for Welby-Jacob.
He said there is no way to finance the project without bonding, and bonds cannot be issued until the cloud of the lawsuit is removed.
Hilbert said the chairman of the district board, Gerald Maloney, decided to cancel the board meeting despite Newton's request to be on the agenda.
He said Maloney did not tell him why he made that decision, but more than one board member, including the chairman, was going to be out of town. He said Maloney was still in Phoenix Monday and probably won't be back before Wednesday.
Sandy's City Council voted unanimously to write the district board supporting the Welby-Jacob water-rights purchase. The letter also will ask for a public meeting with the district board to present Sandy's views on how the purchase can be accomplished while preserving the issues Sandy has raised in the suit.