City wants to buy wellhead

-A A +A
By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

The Chiefland City Commission wants to protect the city's water supply from any encroachment by purchasing a 155-acre wellhead site it currently leases from Suwannee River Water Management District.

The commission, which has been grappling with how it will share the water with neighboring cities and counties, approved spending $132,000 in savings to purchase a 33-acre wellhead site to secure exclusive use of the water for Chiefland. The approval came at Monday's regular commission meeting.

The measure also authorizes Mayor Teal Pomeroy to negotiate for the other 122 acres at the site for about $4,000 per acre and to secure financing for the purchase.

The commission would have to the $488,000 to purchase the additional land.

The entire site is owned by Suwannee River Water Management District and the city has invested $190,000 for the wellhead and lease.

Suwannee River Water Management District has been trying to shepherd an agreement between Chiefland and other area agencies to share the water from the well. It's latest proposal is to form a government utility authority with Chiefland, Gilchrist County, Trenton, Bell, Fanning Springs and Dixie County.

But the commission, led by Pomeroy, has balked at becoming part of an independent utility authority which would set the price for water extracted from the site and to dictate who would get the water.

The city has passed a resolution stating its intent to sell water to Fanning Springs from a metered site at 150th Street.

In Monday's meeting, the city approved the City Annexation Committee's recommendation to annex the area north of the city limits along Highway 19 to 150th Street and set the municipal services boundary at 150th Street, which is also Fanning Springs' municipal utility services boundary.

While the city pursues both efforts, Steve Minnis of the Suwannee River Water Management District has reminded the city that while it has the well on the property it lacks a water use permit from SRWMD.