Voice in Washington: Gianforte listens to concerns from area residents during visit
As part of a tour to hear the concerns of eastern Montanans, U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., spent time in Sidney on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
While visiting with area residents, Gianforte remarked that during his time in Washington, D.C., he has found that a lot of bureaucrats don’t understand the rural way of life.
“This is the checks and balances part that our forefathers envisioned,” the Republican said of visiting with constituents.
During his time at Sadie’s restaurant, Gianforte heard of concerns from the Sidney Water Users Irrigation District. Resident Raymond Bell explained that because of a change decided by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, 45 area families could see a drastic impact. Instead of the Sidney Water Users Irrigation District paying about $3,488 annually for power to supply the irrigation district with water, the price tag will skyrocket to $162,325.
Bell explained that the change is taking place because, after 75 years of service, the Bureau of Reclamation is now deciding that the district is not a publicly owned project. The result could be the end of irrigated farming for those landowners. He said it would impact 45 families and $12 million in taxable revenue.
“Our tax base is at stake here,” Richland County Commissioner Duane Mitchell said.
Gianforte noted, “I understand the importance of 45 families involved. Obviously, a precedent has been set. This is my job to be your voice in Washington.”