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Annexation Information 

The Gallatin Canyon County Water and Sewer District (Canyon District) is reaching out to property owners in the Proposed Sewer Service Area to increase awareness of the upcoming Canyon Sewer Project. Project engineering and permitting has commenced with the target of starting construction in 2026.

 

Our near-term priority is to identify landowners interested in joining the Canyon District and answer questions about the annexation process.

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Purpose of Annexation - Environmental Benefits, Access to Funding

Most of the parcels within the proposed service area are presently on individual septic systems, all of which are discharging to the same aquifer as shallow drinking water wells in the area draw from, causing contamination concerns. Engineering studies completed on behalf of the Gallatin River Task Force and the Canyon District have identified properties neighboring the planned sewer collection corridor along Highway 191 that provide the best opportunity for removal of existing nutrient loads to the Gallatin River and pathogen risk to private wells.

 

Expanding the district results in greater benefit to Big Sky water resources. A broader district boundary also allows for more comprehensive long-term planning and increases the likelihood of securing grants that will be used to offset connection fees for future users. Nearly $15 million has been secured to date and the Canyon District is continuing to seek funds with the goal of substantially reducing connection costs for those property owners with existing septic systems.

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Steps of Annexation 

Step 1 - Petition to Annex

By submitting a Petition to Annex, property owners are expressing interest in connecting to the proposed sewer service but are not obligated to connect. Annexation offers property owners the option to connect in the earliest phase of the project. The project also seeks to achieve a “net-nutrient reduction” goal that may ultimately limit the number of new connections, for which the district anticipates incorporating a “first come, first serve” approach to allocating service capacity.

 

Montana Code Annotated (MCA) 7-13-2341 defines how the Canyon District can grow. Growth can be accomplished through annexation by a petition of contiguous property owners who would like to join or through a vote. The petition to annex would allow annexation of petitioning properties that are adjacent to the existing Canyon District through a simple Canyon District board vote. Petitioning properties that are not adjacent to the Canyon District would be added to a ballot for annexation through a vote of existing Canyon District members.

To submit a Petition to Annex, download the petition here. Once completed, send the petition to: gallatincanyonwsd@gmail.com

Step 2 - Service Agreement

Costs to users are still highly variable and are dependent on many factors including final design, bid price for construction, number of users, funding package, how costs are spread between existing and new development or between domestic and commercial users, and other variables. As costs become more defined over 2024-2025, the Canyon District will coordinate Service Agreements with individual parcel owners, HOA’s and private utility owners. Preliminary budgetary connection fees and user rates are currently being evaluated.

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Annexation, Service Agreement & Project Timeline

The Canyon District is encouraging all interested property owners to petition for annexation. Petitions to annex into the Canyon District can be made at any time. However, the sooner they are submitted, the more likely they will be considered for sewer connection in Phase 1.

 

Service Agreement coordination is anticipated to occur in 2025.

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Annexation Notice

The second round of Petitions to Annex received by the District were reviewed at the May 15th, 2024 GCCWSD Board meeting.  This review resulted in the first reading of Ordinance 2024-2, which documents all of the petitioning properties that were preliminarily accepted for annexation. Click here to see a map of the petitioning properties. 

 

The next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 30th, 2024, at 6:00 PM via Zoom and in person at the BSCWSD office (561 Little Coyote Rd, Big Sky, MT 59716). Ordinance 2024-2 will be read for a second time and reviewed by the Board for approval or dismissal. If approved, the ordinance will take effect after 30 days.

 

The board is requesting public comment on this ordinance at this time. To review the ordinance, please click here.

 

Please direct any comments to GallatinCanyonWSD@gmail.com or at the May 30th board meeting.

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Ordinance 2024-1, annexing 25 properties to the district is in effect, as of May 9th, 2024.

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