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SAWS Board And Bryan Miller Resolve Billing Issue Water Pipeline Work

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Kevin Koile - Sheridan Media

The Chairman of Sheridan County Republican Party has decided to pay up to the Sheridan Area Water Supply (SAWS) Joint Powers Board, after trying to claim the Board owed him for work that was done and that attorney-client privilege was breached.

In Summer of 2020, the Board and Bryan Miller entered into a Memorandum of Understanding agreement regarding a Water Pipeline Protection Project, which was along the Big Goose Creek.

The project was to remediate erosion that could have impacted the pipeline and some of it crossed into Miller’s property.

Miller and the Board agreed that Miller could participate in the design, construction and payment of the project and Miller would pay $10-thousand for the project once it was completed.

The Board hired an engineering firm to put together a proposed design for the project, and while the design was being worked on, Miller was kept in the loop via email about the design work and was allowed to communicate with the board and firm while it was going on.

After the design work was finished in early 2021, Miller then disapproved of it and an agreement was reached for him to pay a local stream rehabilitation company to come up with an alternate design that would be more fishing friendly both on and around his property.

That design was eventually approved and the work was completed to everyone’s satisfaction in September 2021.

Between March of 2022 until May of 2023, the Board sent Miller a written billing invoice for the $10-thousand he owed, but in December 2022, Miller invoiced the Board for at least $26,000 for costs he claimed were owed to him.

Board Attorney Tony Wendtland says in early 2023, Miller attended board meetings to argue that he did not want to pay the $10-thousand that he owed to the Board.

“The long and short of his appearances were that he stated he was unhappy. He now claimed he had not been involved in the design work, even though it had been built using his design and he now said SAWS owed him around at least $26,000”

The Board tried to compromise with Miller, but he refused.

Late last year, Miller got a signed and sworn Wyoming Governmental Claim, and later tried to increase the amount of money owed to him from $26-thousand to $30-thousand, but he was 2 months too late on the claim, as the statute of limitations had expired.

Earlier this year, in summary judgment, the court ruled that Miller had no actionable counterclaims arising out of the MOU against the Board, because the claims were submitted in an untimely matter.

Wendtland says while the county commissioner lawsuit was going on, the case took an odd twist.

“Apparently there was some public records disclosure in that matter, that was provided second hand to Mr. Miller and he tried to use that to assert that the SAWS attorneys and the SAWS Board’s attorney-client privilege was waived somehow, which was wrong. So we had to file a motion for a protective order and the court ruled for us in March that absolutely he couldn’t use something like that to waive the SAWS attorney-client privilege and the court entered that protective order in favor of this board.”

Then last month, just before Miller was scheduled to provide his sworn testimony under oath to the Board’s attorneys, his attorneys delivered Miller’s $10-thousand MOU payment.

Both sides have since dismissed all claims against each other.

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