PSWID hasn't learned their lesson YET!

Comments

Deb Schwalm 11 months, 3 weeks ago

One of the PSWID water storage tanks was declared contaminated recently with e.coli and now has to be cleaned by a diver. Arizona Tank Diver's "employee" performing the work is none other than Mike Greer, the former treasurer of PSWID who ripped off the water district for thousands of dollars. One blunder after another. Why would they think that the public wouldn't find out?

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Deb Schwalm 11 months, 3 weeks ago

The Ch2mHill manager, says that Mike Greer is not a PSWID employee and he is CORRECT. The contract for cleaning this tank is Mr. Chitwood and it looks as though Chitwood subcontracted it to Mike Greer. This is how PSWID and Ch2mHill play with words and call it "misinformation". Ch2mHill also says that the tank is not contaminated. I don't know what you call it when there is e.coli in the water in the tank. Again, playing with the words.

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robbin flowers 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Deb, The water tank isn't the only thing that is contaminated in this area. Aren't you tired of being "ripped off" at every angle of society? "One blunder after another." "Why would they think that the public wouldn't find out?" And when the public does find out, what do they do, just sit around and complain, mostly. But what if you know ahead of time that this would happen? Would you try to stop it? Would you have tried to intervene? Would it have made a difference if you did? Wouldn't in nice if there was just one place in the world that actually practiced what they preached? Just one corporation or government body that actually served the cause of justice, excellence, and fairness. Or is it just too late and were all screwed?

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Pat Randall 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Why does a diver clean it? Doesn't all the water have to be drained out? Or does diver have a different meaning with public water tanks? What do the water employees do? If I were on the water line, I would raise hell and tell the board and company that Mike Greer was not acceptable and not let him near the tank. You could probably get a restraining order without the board. Were all the users of the water notified the water was contaminated? State Law!!! I don't know Mr. Greer and my house is not hooked up to the water or have a meter. So I don't have a dog in the fight. But it smells really bad from where I am. Ever hear of a tank getting leaks in it or contaminated by something else. Seems something needs to be done about the board or all the users of the water are idiots in my opinion. Only an opinion.

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robbin flowers 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Oh and Deb, I mean to cast no aspersions on my last comment, and I am sorry if my ideas are to high-minded. I am the unfortunate recipient of a public education, so I don't know any better.

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Bernice Winandy 11 months, 3 weeks ago

PSWID -- something has to be done about it. Last year, according to figures presented at its last meeting, it spent $90,966 for board/legal fees. That attorney at every meeting sure does seem to be expensive!! Do you know of any other fire district, sanitary district, school district, water district, board of supervisors meetings that pays an attorney to be at every meeting?

Now in its proposed budget for 2013-14 they want a water rate and property tax increases. Also, on page 17 of the Pine-Strawberry Watger Improvement District Budget Alternatives FY 2013-2014 they have an interesting item "Establish Line item for 'Potential Bonding'". Do they want a bond issue? What about the $7 million debt PSWID already has.

Hey guys time to remember that they are in Strawberry-Pine, Arizona not Washington, D.C.

We all appreciate the improvement in water availability, but it is time for PSWID to be reasonable about expenses.

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Bernice Winandy 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I forgot to mention that that Establish Line item for Potential Bonding listed $7,500,000.

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Pat Randall 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't think I know anyone on the board either. But it seems they need to be changed from where I sit.

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Deb Schwalm 11 months, 3 weeks ago

You must know Ray Pugel - Chairman. Your family has been partners with him on the Milk Ranch Well, right?

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Deb Schwalm 11 months, 3 weeks ago

The next election is in 2014 and I think maybe 2 or three of them are up for re-election.

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Pam Mason 11 months, 3 weeks ago

On the audio tape it sounded like "divers" then I researched it and it is Arizona Tank Drivers LLC. I made the mistake in the Waterforpinestrawberry.com summary and called it divers not drivers. Maybe I need a hearing aid :-)

If Mike Greer is working on PSWID property that bothers me. He and also some documentation for a PSWID generator contract are under investigation by the Arizona Auditor General's Office. The outcome is not yet known, and therefore Mr. Greer should not be anywhere near projects for PSWID whether he is paid by Arizona Tank Drivers or anyone else.

Tom in answer to your link, I too have always found the CH2M Hill employees (management company) to be polite and pleasant. Some of the PSWID board members would do well to follow the example set by CH2M Hill.

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Pat Randall 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Well Deb, you certainly got a lot of people stirred up with your misinformation. I wondered about a 'diver' going into the tank but since this was started on Tom's blog, I didn't bother to check it. I did ask about a diver going into the tank and no one replied to it. Shame on me.

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Pam Mason 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi Pat,

Arizona Tank Drivers LLC do have a contact and are cleaning some tanks out and repairing where necessary. I think this also may entail applying some kind of sealant. Hope this info answers your question.

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Pat Randall 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Pam, I thought it was Deb that started all this. Sorry Deb. I was confused about divers being in the tank with drinking water I had never heard of it being done that way. Seems it would be the water going in that was contaminated, not the tank until the water got there. I don't know why they don't test the the water before it goes into the tank and the water treated. Then test it as it comes out. The tanks usually have water from more than one well in most places.

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 3 weeks ago

"Maybe I need a hearing aid."

More likely a pat in the back for doing a hard, and at some times thankless, job.

(PS: We forgive you. Maybe the person who made the tape needed a speaking aid.)

Thanks for the info, Deb.

Pat, interestingly enough I knew a teacher who used to work as a diver during summers cleaning swimming pools. He used to clean black mold off pool sides. Why they didn't just drain the pool and do it I don't know. He used scuba gear. I always thought it was funny to think of some guy in scuba gear working in a swimming pool. (made me think of pool sharks.) I had a pool once, in a rental; I would never own one. It was more trouble than it was worth, but I will say this: in August of one of the hottest years Phoenix ever saw I went over to that house to clean it up before we moved in (we had just arrived in town). The a/c was not working (was under repairs). That was one HOT day's work! I wouldn't even let Lolly come with me and help; too hot. And when I finally finished late that night, and sat down for a minute to rest before going back to our temporary place, I eyed that pool. No swim suit. Turned the lights off in the pool and slid in. My! My! Sitting in a swimming pool (under a palm tree, no less) on a day that had hit one hundred twenty. It was nice!

I agree that Mike Greer has no business having any kind or form of contact with PSWID, especially not if it involves payment of any kind. I've been wondering in what century we would hear from someone about what he did.

Evidently it means more to the state to go very quickly into the theft of a Snickers bar at a 7-Eleven, or catching a kid smoking a six month old cigarette, than bothering with someone who steals from the public, but then the people running this place are the same ones who make the rules.

I sometimes wonder how much they laugh at us.

Is there another planet? Can I apply for an immigrant visa? Do they take honest people?

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robbin flowers 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Why "bother with someone who steals from the public?" Exactly, Tom, its because the public is just a bunch of chumps who deserve to be robbed. It might sound crazy, but as an example, it appears as though the "government" just sees the general population, like a fruit or vegetable to be "harvested" for tax money and savings. Otherwise, why would the state exempt our locally elected officials from prosecution? The officials get to do their "Sweet Heart" misappropriations and line their buddies pockets with our money, and then they just move on to the next group of chumps. Sounds like the right, just and fair way to run a government to me, how about you?

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robbin flowers 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, one more fictitious example. The aforementioned buddies that got "lined pockets", also have buddies. The "friends" of those buddies are waiting in the wing. Then those friend organizations, move into "chump towns." The kind of towns that have people who are easy to exploit, then they issue very expensive bonds against the town suckers! The bonds that were not even necessary, if the officials ran the government in the TRUE best interest of the people that they got the money from to begin with. As an example, a corporation will issue a bond to build a elementary school or put in a public well, do you have any idea how much that costs us all?

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Deb Schwalm 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Robbin, are you a resident of Pine or Strawberry and receive PSWID water?

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Bernice Winandy 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Tommie Cline Martin did such a good job of creating an "able to work with atmosphere" at the town hall she led. I fear that PSWID is just blowing it.

Please try to attend the budget/water rate hearing being held on May 18 at 10 a.m. in the Pine Cultural Center.

Let's give another try to getting the PSWID Board to listen to the public.

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Deb Schwalm 11 months, 3 weeks ago

The budget is a DONE DEAL. Meeting on May 10th is just a formality.

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Deb Schwalm 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Sorry - The meeting is Saturday, May 18th. Check PSWID.org for changes and updates on time/place, etc.

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Bernice Winandy 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Deb, do you have any suggestions about what can be done to avoid the additional debt that the PSWID budget creates for the public? What about those water rate increases?

A recall can't be done before the budget is approved. Besides we learned just how expensive recall elections are when Rim Country Water had theirs several years ago.

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Deb Schwalm 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I think there is a final vote on the budget after the hearing. I checked today. However, I feel there will be very little change. The board wants to fix everything as soon as possible so the burden of the repairs will be on current residents. For last years' budget, Gary Lovetro felt the public should have NO INPUT. I was present at a meeting early this year prior to the budget meeting and Richard Dickinson - Secretary, said that involving the public would be "opening a can of worms". He didn't want the public involved either. (on a recording as well).

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Deb Schwalm 11 months, 3 weeks ago

If you listen to the recordings of the budget meeting (April 25) on waterforpinestrawberry.com/recordings, this budget is already voted in. The public hearing is just a formality. I feel that if it wasn't required, PSWID would not bother with the budget meeting for the public. From the recordings of the meetrings, it seems they would prefer no public input and when they do get public input "it goes in one ear and out the other". They have said at previous meetings that the public has elected them to do this job and that's what they're going to do. During PSWID meetings, Gary Lovetro continues to display outbursts (not pertaining to the topic at hand) directed at Sam. Nothing is done to contain this inappropriate behavior (bullying) and he is most definitely out of order. This content is all from the recordings.

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Pat Randall 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Only so many people can be on a board to do a job, voted in by those concerned. Let them do thier job or kick them out. Get a new board. Record everything that is said or better yet, video the meetings. An accounting of expenses and income at every meeting. Every penny. 2 signatures on every check. No more than 2 credit cards. An itemized ticket with each charge made. Any large expense to be voted on by property owners. It seems you all sit back and wait for something to happen wrong or not to your liking then sit down to your computers and b---- like crazy. Get up and out and do something.

Like I said there is no water to my house so I don't care what you do.

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Deb Schwalm 11 months, 3 weeks ago

The only power the public has is when we vote on board members. The board decides on signatures on checks, credit card procedure, itemized records, etc. etc. I agree that the public only responds when there is a HUGE issue. There are recordings AND VIDEO recordings on waterforpinestrawberry.com and still there is little concern.

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Pat,

You may not pay a water bill, but the PSWID taxes are still assessed on your house. Just a thought.

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Pat Randall 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Deb Schwalm, I am a Randall but that doesn't mean I know Ray Pugel. There are 5 Pat Randalls in the area and I don't know any of them. Randalls are a very large family.
My brother in-law in Mesa has 41 great grandchildren and I don't even know them. I will have 8 on the 9th of this month and he doesn't know any of them. Try thinking before you type.

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Deb Schwalm 11 months, 3 weeks ago

That's why I was asking if you knew him. You went to the defensive. Sorry.

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Pat Randall 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, I know the taxes will raise. Like they aren't bad enough now.
I am paying a few dollare less for that 50 yr. old small house as I pay for one in Payson over 2000 sq. ft only 10 yrs. old.

Should have left Brooks alone. (:

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Bernice Winandy 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Pat, I am not sure that we should have left Brooks alone. However, I am sure that we should have paid more attention and examined more closely the Rim Country Water proposal. Their numbers were wrong from the getgo. Rim Country Water used emotions to cover up the weakness of their case. PSWID Board has continued to try to cover up. The idea of purchasing the Milk Ranch Well at full asking price, without an appraisal and after spending 100/s of thousands of dollars fixing it up was idiotic. Drilling two more sandy deep wells without addressing the sand problem is just plain nuts.

Like it or not we are stuck. All we can hope is that we finally can get more than one person on the PSWID board to listen to common sense, recognize and respect the public's right to have input.

PSWID is ruining the good will that Tommie Cline Martin built at the town hall meeting. Raising water rates and property taxes after the town hall meeting when so many complained about the current rates is just PSWID Board slapping the public in the face once again.

.

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 3 weeks ago

"I am a Randall but that doesn't mean I know Ray Pugel."

Pat, Deb was referring to Robert. I don't think she meant anything by what she said other than you probably had run into Ray Pugel at some time.

"Should have left Brooks alone."

I noticed the smiley after that, and I hate to say it, but since I am honest I will point out that the alternate was not Brooke versus No Brooke. It was a well in Strawberry which would have cost us nothing versus the millions we paid for the water company and are now stuck with paying back.

Once that well was supplying water, the water hauling charges, the problem we were trying to fix, would have ended. I have never understood why people voted to get rid of the PSWID Board BEFORE the well went in. Why not wait and see what happened? Where was the panic? Could we not have bought the water company afterwards--if we were so hungry to own a company that we couldn't resist the temptation?

Last comment: If we owe money we have to pay it back, and if the cost of operating is more than we are taking in we have to raise our income. The only intelligent way to do that is to leave the water rates alone and raise only the taxes. If we change the water rate structure in any way the results will be predictable. Want to hear what they will be?

Just so that I can say, "I told you so" if some fool causes it to happen, here you are:

  1. Sales of houses will continue close to zero.

  2. House values will drop even more than they have.

  3. Construction will continue to be zilch.

  4. Pine and Strawberry will become as popular as leper colonies.

Why?

If there is anything that is king in Arizona, it is water. Change water rates here in any way when they are already very high compared to comparable weekender locations and you might as post a large sign at each of our two little towns saying:

DO NOT BUY HERE! WE ARE MINING WATER AND ABOUT TO GO BROKE!

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Deb Schwalm 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks, Tom - I agree. Also, a result of increasing property tax and water rates will be chasing away lower income seniors.

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robbin flowers 11 months, 3 weeks ago

The water situation that is going on in P/S, is going on all over the state (probably the world). None of us will even be here for long if we can't use and protect what water we have. The government will definitely not do that for you, in fact, I can demonstrate how they will do the exact opposite. It must be done by the people, it is your water, unless, you continue to give up control for what should be free and abundant. Imagine, water really was free and abundant not that long ago.

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Pat Randall 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, Deb was referring to Mr. Pugel. She used his name not Roberts.
Stop trying to referee. (: I see some of my husband's families maybe 3 times a year. At the Pioneer Dinner here in Payson or at a funeral. We all mind our own business. Not that it is anyones business, but once in a while there are 2 or 3 that call me or I call them once in awhile. It isn't to discuss what we own or who we might be a partner with. If you put all the land together that Randalls own it would be more than the whole town of Pine, but that is a different story. I don't know who owns what nor do I care. I have enough problems paying taxes on my own land.

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Pat,

It's only logical that the families who founded these two small mountain communities would still have a large presence here, especially since they were LDS, and the church encourages large families. What puzzles me is how some of the old names I've seen in large numbers in the 1940 census seem to have just evaporated.

Talking about numbers, I'll bet that if I asked this question mots people would get it wrong:

"Of the four small towns up here, which is the largest?"

a. Payson

b. Pine

c. Star Valley

d. Strawberry

Take a guess before you look at the answer.

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Answer:

• Star Valley, 6.4 sq mil (permanent population 1,536; weekender housing units 340).

• Strawberry 10.2 sq mi (permanent population 1,028; weekender housing units 674).

• Payson 19.5 sq mi (permanent population 15,301; weekender housing units 1,201).

• Pine 31.8 sq mi (permanent population 1,931; weekender housing units 1,360).

Surprised?

Want something to think about? Think about those numbers, replenishable water supply, and construction.

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Pat Randall 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, How did you come up with that? Pine and Strawberry are not incorporated so don't have boundries. Right ?

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Pam Mason 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Well Well Well (no pun intended) It seems that I may not have messed up after all. Documents submitted to the ACC by Mr. Chitwood say Arizona Tank Divers but the ACC says Arizona Tank Drivers! So either the ACC made a typo or they changed it because there is another association called Arizona Tank Divers. Anyhow maybe I can hold off on the hearing aids. Enough already!

As for PSWID Property Taxes, the proposal is that they go up from $300,000 to $625,000. There is more but as the song goes "break it to me gently"

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Good for you, Pam. I knew you had it right all along. :-)

As to what the board will do about taxes and or rates, if they need money they need money. The current rate structure is the correct one, with a basic charge as is done everywhere. That shares the basic costs, mainly the debt we incurred by buying the water company, but also the costs of meter reading, billing, and maintenance that have to be shared equally by all of us since we all own the water company. Then we pay for water above 3,000 gallons. That means that we all share the debt we incurred, which is considerable. Putting part of that basic cost in taxes is again fair and proper because it also shares the basic costs among everyone.

I sometimes hear weekenders who don't want a basic rate, but the effect of not having one would be to place the cost of buying the water company for the housing units in Pine and Strawberry on the backs of the the few permanent households (there are only 1,373 permanent homes in Pine and Strawberry). The result would be that one third of all households who pay the freight while the other two thirds (the weekenders) got off scott free.

You can check those numbers, Pam. They clearly show that the board used its head by following the lead of literally all water utilities in Arizona by establishing a basic rate. It is the norm. I'm always surprised when weekenders who complain about a basic rate; they seem to be unaware of the fact that the water companies back where they live do exactly the same thing.

I did a little research and found that towns and cities as far back as pre-and-post colonial days ran their water companies on a standard rate, and I can give you references to verify it. That goes all the way back to the water company in New York City which was running water through wooden water pipes installed by Aaron Burr. It would be nice if people just looked things up before they complained to the board about having done its homework.

Pat,

During a census there are things called "census desgnated areas" and stats are gathered for them. You would be surprised the number of facts that are available out there about even the smallest towns.

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robbin flowers 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Tom, I am a geek and I was being metaphorical about water contamination. What about people who live outside of a water district? Where do they get there water? What is that water quality like? How much of it is contaminated? As a gross example, lets say AZ just "scored" a contract for Nuclear Hazard Storage, and one of the sites that "they" are considering is NE of our area. If there was a leak, what kind of water contamination could happen in Arizona?

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Pam Mason 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I hear you Tom. Actually John Nelson worked on the Proposed Budget. What we don't want is history repeating itself and more of the same. We have experienced too many sweetheart deals, without due diligence, at the expense of the tax payers. Someone remarked to me the other day "so far we have purchased two wells, one with muddy water and the other is shut down with contamination in the water" and you know he has a point. I didn't have the heart to tell him that also proposed is an increase in water rates and a $7,500,000 bond. At least we should finally get a master plan out of it, something that is sorely needed. How those on a fixed income will manage is another concern.

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Bernice Winandy 11 months, 3 weeks ago

A big deal was made at the town hall meeting that the board members could not speak at the town hall. Well, apparently they misunderstood and thought that they weren't suppose to listen and take into account what the public was saying. So, I will print it here in capital letters and hope that they will read it and understand.

PEOPLE WERE COMPLAINING ABOUT WATER RATES

I had hoped that with new leadership on the PSWID board would bring a willingness to listen and respond to the public. Instead we are getting same ol' same ol'.

I sure do people turn out May 18 at the Pine Cultural Center at 10 a.m.

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 3 weeks ago

"...and a $7,500,000 bond."

Do you know what the bond is for? I'd like to know.

I have a sick feeling that someone in PSWID may be about to do the "the way to avoid falling off the cliff is to jump off" thing.

Know what I mean? When someone looks at the worst case scenario, and to avoid it happening he makes it happen. I've seen it done in a couple of towns and it broke them.

Here's what I mean. I keep hearing rumblings about, "Oh! Brooke never repaired its system. It just let it go." That worries me.

Take a stroll down to Payson and talk to Buzz Sawyer. Or go down to the Valley to any large city and find someone who really knows something about water systems. What he or she will be very happy to tell you is that water systems are best left alone.

When the pipes are first buried there is a period of time when they are settling in; during that period leaks show up because of earth movement, or because the workers failed to level the trench properly, causing strains in the piping. After that period, there is literally no reason to disturb the system unless a leak shows up. Why? Because the pipes used today are virtually "forever." Once out of a high oxidizing level (the air, or somewhere where friable soil allows air penetration) they are good for generations. When you start fooling with them you create as many problems as you solve.

In other words, as long as plastic pipes are not laid in areas of earth slump or where they cross roads in areas of high traffic they need NO maintenance. All they require is "repair as needed."

What is the "worst case scenario" where our water pipes are concerned? Obviously, it would be having to replace the entire system. If someone on the board is proposing that we borrow $7,500,000 to cause the worst case scenario to come true, then this is the time for every rate-payer in Pine and Strawberry to come together, dig in his or her heels, and yell NO!

It is time we all--permanent resident and weekender alike--come together as a group and wrest back control of our water system. It IS ours, you know. We are paying for it. Every one of us, whether we are one of the many retirees up here, or one of those who are still working for a living, or someone who built up here to enjoy time in quiet mountain terrain, not to spend megabucks on water.

If the money is for something else, we need to look at that too.

But first, someone has to say what it's for. We should already have been told that.

Bernice, it may be time for the ordinary people who live here, or who come here to enjoy a few stress-free days in the country, to come together, find people among us who truly represent our interests, and have an election.

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Bernice Winandy 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, I agree PSWID does need a basic rate. However, the problem that PSWID had centered on the fact that 3,000 gallons of water was included in the basic rate. People objected to the 3,000 gallons saying that they never use that amount in a month. Some said that they don't even use that much water in a year. Therefore, I believe that the basic rate objectors were hoping that the 3,000 gallons would be lowered or removed making it possible to lower the basic rate.

Unfortunately, if I understand correctly PSWID is removing the 3,000 gallons of water and keeping the basic rate the same or raising it. If this is true, PSWID has just slapped the public in the face or if you prefer has given us one big kick in the rear. Anyway it is once again a show of "we don't have to listen--we can do as we please."

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Pam Mason 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Bernice if your existing base rate is $36.00 including the 3,000 gallons of water. Your new proposed base rate is $42.50 with no water. Your rate for water usage at Zero-3,000 gallons would be $1.75 per 1,000 gallons, that should work out to $44.25 per month which is $8.25 or 23% increase. For 3001-6,000 gallons, cost of water $7.00 per 1,000 gallons, comes to $47.75 month which is $11.75 or 33% increase. Hope this helps.

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Pam Mason 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, we were told it is to replace the entire water pipeline system and install fire hydrants. The board went to great pains to tell us we will "save" on our home insurance.

The CH2M Hill District Manager in a recent board meeting said that a lot of the water revenue loss is due to faulty water meters (i.e. not registering water usage correctly) followed by water leaks. Strawberry appears to have the most faulty meters and they are being changed first, another 1,160 to be completed by mid June.

The actual district workers and DM know where the most persistent water leak areas are, so it would make sense to focus on those known leaks first. It would appear to me that other leaks as they crop up can be taken care of in regular maintenance as and when needed. All Budgets had money assigned for repairs, so why not in a careful measured manner continue over time without killing our wallets?

Over the years we have been urging the board to develop a Master Plan in order to help ensure that the public's money is well spent. The board has refused in the past saying they had to deal with the "emergency" first (quite the emergency almost $3,000,000.) The board did approve the effort for a master plan as part of this year's proposed budget. It is now fairly clear that the board intends to use the master plan as justification for that borrowing. You can expect a big Public Relations Blitz from the board and their benefactors telling us that the system is falling apart and that they HAVE to replace the entire system.

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Pam Mason 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The board don't like us to refer to the past but as Dr. Phi says "a good indicator of future behavior is past behavior."

The Public Relations Machine in the past also told the public that if we purchased Pine and Strawberry Water Companies that there could be no increase to current rates as part of a Five Year Plan. That the then current water rate could cover financing to purchase the water companies. That a deep well exists in Pine and that the cost of a fully functioning well is $250,000 and not $1.3M. That they would work with the County and State agencies to convert PSWID into a purveyor of water. That procedure under ARS-48-1018 was not carried out. "Any money the district puts into the well will be subtracted from the purchase or lease price" which did not happen, and so on and so forth.

We will hear what adjustments and savings they have made to the Budget but the bottom line is $10,510,246 and they will not be swayed from their pet project. Once the Potential Bonding of $7,500,000 is a line item in the approved Budget, they can go out and get a bond. Sounds like we don't get a vote. We will be told that because it is in the Budget that they don't have to spend it, and in my opinion they are just empty words and we hear it every single year.

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Pam Mason 11 months, 2 weeks ago

A lot of people are fed up with the water issues and who can blame them? However, soon it will be too late and they will certainly be fed up when it comes to paying their bills in account of PSWID.

Unfortunately those who attended the Town Hall Meeting and said they were "on the edge" and those on fixed incomes appear to not matter. Of course as a Public Relations bait and switch, PSWID will then suggest a fund be set up to assist those that need help with their bill. That may sound nice, but it won't really get to the heart of the problem will it?

Do we really want another Sedona or would we like to be left alone, pay reasonable bills and live in peace with our neighbors?

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Bernice Winandy 11 months, 2 weeks ago

It is interesting to note that the budget document I received from PSWID states that Base Rates (the $42.50 that Pam refers to) will be charged starting 7-1-2013 and tier rates will be charged starting 8-1-2013 for July usage.

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 2 weeks ago

There is only one thing to do about all this. I will make it as short as I can.

If any such plan was under consideration, it should long since have been brought to the attention of the rate-payers in Pine and Strawberry. It wasn't. The planning was done secretly, and behind closed doors. We have been ignored, treated like children.

We are not a pack of children; we are a group of some 3,300 households comprised of people from every walk of life--working men and women, active and retired businessmen, technicians, scientists, administrators and others who happen to think this is a good place to live, or to spend some off-time enjoying the rewards of hard work. We are people who have invested time, money, and energy in our first or second homes, and have supported the board in any prudent effort to improve the value of those homes. The contemplated step, however, could unnecessarily raise water rates to the point where our property values, which are already near rock bottom, once again plummet.

This is too much. Whether we live here full time or part time, there is one thing that some members of the PSWID Board seem to have forgotten: We are able to think and reason, and especially to count, as well as or better than any other group in this nation, large or small. We will not stand for elected officials telling us what they will do with our money without even affording us a chance to say yea or nay.

If a plan to spend large sums of money on the sweeping replacement of the entire water system was under consideration we should have long since been in the loop. We should have been shown facts and figures: the number of meters which have been proven to be malfunctioning, the date and time each one was removed and replaced, the difference in readings before and after replacement, an analysis done by someone we trust of how much the replacement is saving, and how long it will be before the additional revenue coming in equals the cost of replacement. We should have been shown data regarding the cost of replacing all meters versus the cost of as-needed replacement, data which convincing proves that the massive expense of total replacement is fully justified. We should have been shown a list of current leaks, and been given reasons why they have not, or cannot, be fixed. And much more!

If we, after having been apprised of the facts, indicated that we wished that action be taken, we should have been shown cost estimates, the suggested methods of raising the needed funds, interest rates, pay-off dates, and alternate ways and means of paying back loans through increases in rates or taxes, including any possible way that such a sweeping program might have been written so as to fall under the venue of some grant program.

This has not happened. What happens now is obvious, as I will show in my second post.

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Instead of being treated with the respect we are due, all of us, full time residents and weekenders alike, have been treated like ignorant fools who need not be including in the decision-making process. The only possible reaction to treatment by elected officials who choose to abrogate their responsibilities to their constituents in such a manner is the obvious one: Identify those board members who have acted behind closed doors without consulting those for whom they are supposed to work, place their names on a recall list, vote, replace them with people we trust and respect, and get on with life in our two small but beautiful mountain communities.

Pam, you start the recall petition and I will sign it.

So, I believe, will everyone else.

You have my permission to include this comment in a circulating e-mail.

What a shame it had to come to this!

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Bernice Winandy 11 months, 2 weeks ago

It should be noted that the budget document I received from PSWID is the proposed budget. A budget won't be final until after the May 18 meeting. That is why it is so important that we contact Board members with our concerns, talk to our neighbors, write letters to the Payson Roundup and show up at the May 18 meeting at 10 a.m. at the Pine Cultural Center, etc.

Maybe just maybe we can get the board to understand that we don't want a $7,500,000 bond issue.

PSWID currently is about $7 million in debt. I think that is enough debt for a water district the size of PSWID.

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Deb Schwalm 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree with Bernice about the public making their concerns heard before May 18 AND MAKING SURE TO ATTEND the meeting on May 18. However, if past behavior predicts future behavior with PSWID board members, they will not listen.

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I've already said what I think we have to do. I'll stand by that.

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Pat Randall 11 months, 2 weeks ago

When I was still hooked on to the water in Pine I payed a basic rate plus a $80.00 hauling fee for three months one year when the house was vacant. So let the summer people pay the basic rate at least they are using it part time.
When they do get a leak in the water system they don't know where the turn offs are and they have to call Winslow to have someone come over and blue stake where they can dig, after they find the turn off. All of this has happened to me. My neighbor in Pine called me in Payson there was a leak in the water line it had been leaking since 5:00 AM. We got there at 8 and the water company hadn't shown up yet. Didn't know where the shut off was so it ran for about 3 hours more before they found it. Blue Stake showed up about 2 hours after that. The leak was on thier side of the meter so didn't have to pay for all the water that was wasted that day because of stupidity.That is why I told them to disconnect me. The water meter belonged to me but they took it too. Don't know if any of that made sense.

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Pam Mason 11 months, 2 weeks ago

If word has got around, then regular folks will be attending the PSWID Proposed Budget Meeting this Saturday May 18th. I trust that the public will be allowed to ask questions and express an opinion, without intimidation from the board itself or its benefactors. (That would be the same group that made pie in the sky promises to the public and broke them.) No doubt the public relations machine will be in full swing, but the attendees themselves should be able to ascertain just how high the proposed increases are, in order to support the proposed $10,510,246 budget.

The views already expressed here have been eloquent and mindful of the financial consequences faced by those who live or own property within the PSWID district. During or after the meeting should the public feel that they are being taxed without representation, and that the board acts without due diligence or compromise, I have no doubt that we will hear it. If there are enough cries from the public for a recall of certain board members, then we will most likely have to move forward.

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Bernice Winandy 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Pam, well said. I hope they (PSWID Board) will finally listen to the people. If they don't then it is time for a recall. Expensive, yes, but they forced it!

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Deb Schwalm 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I would love to be optimistic about the PSWID Board listening to the cries of the residents. However, past behavior is an indicator of future behavior. There is an arrogance present on the board that they are the controllers/decisionmakers and the "stupid country folk" don't know what's good for them so PSWID has to make ALL the decisions. Again, because past behavior is an indicator of future behavior, the support from the community was very low after the incident with Mike Greer and Gary Lovetro. I want to know what it will take for the community to step up. We need the weekender support! I used to be a weekender years ago and I understand that coming up to Pine for the weekend was a "getaway" not to participate in political turmoil. Weekenders are approximately 75% of Pine's population. HOW DO WE REACH THEM???

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Deb Schwalm 11 months, 2 weeks ago

On the PSWID BUDGET HEARING NOTICE......

"Notice of Rate & Budget Hearing - Pursuant to A.R.S. 38-431.02 and A.R.S. 42-10703 and A.R.S 42-17107 Notice is Hereby given to the Members of the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District of a Hearing on the Proposed Rates & Budget for Fiscal Year July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. At this meeting any District member may appear and be heard in favor or against any proposed tax levies, revenue resources, or planned expenditures. ALL Public Comments and/or concerns should be presented to the PSWID Administrative Office prior to the rate & budget hearing date. Budget Details are available at the PSWID administrative office: 6306 W Hardscrabble Road Pine, AZ"

....... The phrase about submitting questions to the Admin Office prior to the Hearing is a concern. Last year if one submitted questions before the meeting THEY COULD NOT BE ASKED AT THE MEETING. I think that's crazy.

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Tom Garrett 11 months, 2 weeks ago

"I used to be a weekender years ago and I understand that coming up to Pine for the weekend was a "getaway" not to participate in political turmoil. Weekenders are approximately 75% of Pine's population. HOW DO WE REACH THEM???"

So were many of the people who now live here full time. The way to reach weekenders is to tell them to look in their wallets and see whose hand is in them.

Deb, that sounds like a Catch 22. If you submit something and then can't talk it is simply a way of stifling your voice. And if you don't submit something? Do they then run out of time for comments?

We shall see what we shall see. As for me, I have already spoken.

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