Tax Responsibilities Assigned
Representatives of the Oahe Conservancy Sub-district and the federal government agreed to an important and necessary contract at a signing event held in early 1969. This so-called “master contract” assured the federal government that local taxpayers in the sub-district would assume some of the financial responsibilities associated with building the project, and it also obligated sub-district taxpayers and irrigators to maintain the project’s expansive infrastructure for forty years after project construction was completed
The master contract also stipulated that legal liabilities associated with operation of the project would be the responsibility of the sub-district, and that water from the Missouri River could be reallocated by the federal government for purposes other than irrigation. The absence of a water guarantee for irrigators was viewed by project critics as a weakness of the project. Nevertheless, finalizing a master contract between the federal government and the Oahe Sub-district added more momentum for the Oahe project, and marked a major achievement for project supporters.
The Oahe Conservancy Sub-district and the federal government’s master contract was finalized in early 1969 after six years of negotiations. Pictured at the important contract-signing event held in Aberdeen are, from left to right: Front row: Nelson Hundstad and Fred Holscher, Oahe Sub-district directors; Ken Holum, Department of Interior; Floyd Dominy, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. Back row, left to right: Dwayne Kettering, Orville Hill, and John Schwab, Oahe Sub-district directors; Ralph Herseth, former South Dakota Governor; Hans Jessen, former Oahe Sub-district director.