What can the public do to gain control of their ownership?

Comments

Bernice Winandy 11 months ago

On Saturday, May 18 the Pine Cultural Center was filled to almost capacity. The people were there for the PSWID budget/rate hearing. An overwhellming majority of those in attendance were not in favor of the "proposed" budget. After about two hours the public finished and the meeting was turned over to the PSWID Board of Directors. With little or no discussion the "proposed" budget was approved.

The scariest part of the "proposed" budget (now approved) in my opinion is the $7.5 million bond issue. At Saturday's meeting the board admitted that they have no idea about interest rates and costs. They do not have a master plan in place. How much is this bond going to cost the public in increased water rates and property taxes? If property taxes are going to be used to pay the bond, doesn't the bond issue have to be voted upon by the publlic? By the way the $7.5 bond issue, would just about double PSWID debt to about $15 million.

At a recent PSWID town hall meeting, Tommie Cline Martin reminded people in attendance that "you are the owners of the water district." If we, the public, are the owners of the water district, why won't the board listen to us and act according to our wishes?

The PSWID board made the comment that only 4 or 5 people were at a previous meeting. Would increased attendance at board meetings make a difference, and would the board then act as the public (the owners of PSWID) wish?

O, yes, the PSWID board in recognition that the "proposed" budget (now approved) may create a hardship for some, is looking into creating a means whereby people can contribute money to help pay the water bills of those who can't pay. How do you feel about a water district also becoming a charitable organization? If it is not a charitable organization, what is it? How is this "help your neighbor pay the water bill" operation going to work?

I guess I have many questions and too few answers.

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Pat Randall 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Bernice, PSWID want to play like the big boys. SRP, APS, City of Mesa Utilities and others. Haven't you noticed on your utility bills an amount to pay extra to help people who can't pay? Call me scrooge but I have never paid it.
I want to know where my charitable money goes. Do the people on the board get paid? Recall them before they get your taxes so high you all lose your homes because you can't pay them. It is automaticaly put on there and there is nothing you can do about it. I don't think the county should be a collection agency for them but thats the way it is. Look at your tax notice and see how many things you are already paying for that you probably had no say about. Schools, libraries, fire districts and I can't remember all off the top of my head. I think it should be voted on by home owners not 5 or 7 people who sit on a board. What makes them so smart? Do they all run a succesful business or have they ever? Hope this make some sense. I haven't had my 2nd cup of coffee yet.

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Pam Mason 10 months, 4 weeks ago

"Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry." — Winston Churchil

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Tom Garrett 10 months, 4 weeks ago

"Recall them before they get your taxes so high you all lose your homes because you can't pay them."

That would be my way of doing it.

I'm ready to sign.

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don evans 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Speaking of a water charity. The Town of Payson is being very charitable now to Brooke Utility's Water Company. They are allowing this for profit water utility company (based in Bakersfield, Calif) to withdraw multi thousands of gallons of water from a Payson Town fire hydrant on an on going basis. The hydrant is cloistered behind the Home Depot where hardly anyone would observe the huge Rio Verde Water Hauling Tanker Trucks being filled up. The water is then delivered to Brooke Utility customers living in Mesa del Caballo. Of course Brooke Utility has filed for a dramatic water use rate increase with the AZ Corp. Commission to charge those customers. The Town of Payson tells it's residents it must conserve their water useage, no grass allowed, no swim pools, no wasteful driveway car washing etc. But it appears they have plenty of public municipal water to provide to Brooke Utility alias/DBA Payson Water Company Inc. in Mesa Del. I recall no public notice or discussion of this contract being allowed. So much for transparency. How about the Ethic's of this outrage?

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Pam Mason 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Don, if you go to the Roundup archives and type in Mesa del it should bring you up to date with what activity has taken place and the latest on Payson/ Blue Ridge / ACC / SRP etc. Maybe you will find your answers there. Good luck.

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don evans 10 months, 4 weeks ago

I am under no illusion that a guarantee or contractual promise has not been given to Mesa Del with respect to the Blue Ridge pipeline water allocation amounts. And, I have no problem with that. That pipeline is not projected to come on line until 2015 not including any snafu's or delays. From now and until the actual opening date, Payson municipal water is being sucked out at a tremendous rate by Brooke Utility. How long has this been going on? How much is Payson charging Brooke for the water taking. My guess is a very low below market rate. When will it end? Who in Town Govt. approved it? Why was it kept so hush hush and no Payson citizen input? Brooke supplying water to it's customers is their problem until the acre feet of water begins to flow from the new pipe into Mesa Del. Let Brooke pay and improve their broken down water delivery system and holding tanks so they would not have to increase their customer rates by having to haul water. Why does Payson have any obligation to Brooke to sell our public water? Something is very fishy and it stinks.

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don evans 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Found an archive Roundup Article dated July 3, 2012!!! Title: "Mesa Del strikes water deal" Note the date. The gist of the article spells out the water for Mesa Del from the future pipeline, how Brooke Utility has been hauling water from "PAYSON" to it's Mesa Del customers, and tripling their water rate charges. So this has been going on PRIOR to July 3, 2012. (Taking Payson's water) Did any of you Payson residents know about it??? Does this scenario by this utility company sound familiar? Can you say Pine and Strawberry......And the Town of Payson is allowing Brooke Utility to use Payson public water to gouge the people of Mesa Del! More ethical questions......

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Pam Mason 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Don,

In 2011 Mesa Del had 367 customers. I found this in the Roundup archives as well http://www.paysonroundup.com/news/201...

If link does not come up enter the heading into archives that should work. Searching can be fun :-)

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Pam Mason 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Okay that did not work so type in archives New ACC complaints filed in Mesa del Caballo water dispute (by Pete Aleshire)

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robbin flowers 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Let me see if I can extrapolate this situation for you, using probability statistics. Now I might very well be wrong, but I doubt it, and in fact I will pay anybody $10 if they can prove me wrong. "Suddenly" water becomes "contaminated" right before a 7.5 mil bond is issued. Get it?

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Pat Randall 10 months, 4 weeks ago

How many private wells have been tested in Pine and Strawberry?

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robbin flowers 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Who, what, why, when and where? Are always good questions to start with. Follow the money, follow the law to the source of corruption. Organize the data and leave no stone unturned. Any retired nurses/doctors out there? Use the scientific processes like SOAP notes, nursing process or other scientific processes that you may be comfortable with. Be loving, kind and gentle, have fun - make it a "game" of logic, keep the dark emotions and assumptions out of it. Always use light hearted terminology. Watch the movie Blazing Saddles as a template to fix "it". Understand why this is the best movie ever written.

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don evans 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Pam, I found the article, thank you. So now this taking Payson Water by Brooke Utility goes back to the year 2011! This just keeps getting better. Now we must be talking Millions of gallons of water to date. In my opinion, I now believe Brooke Utility owner has a very good buddy in the Town of Payson Water Department.

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Pam Mason 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Pat, I can't tell you how many private wells for home use in Pine and Strawberry there are. Did find out that in Gila County there are approx. 5,680 exempt wells registered with ADWR. No agency regulates water supply or quality in exempt wells. For this reason, well-based water-supply system owners must realize their responsibility to understand the vulnerabilities of their personal water supply and commit to monitoring the quality of their water. Source: Well Owners Guide to Ground Water Resources in Gila County. (U of A Cooperative Extension)

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robbin flowers 10 months, 4 weeks ago

The people own the water! Nobody else does at this time. But look out! Did you know that in Colorado it is illegal to even capture rain water?

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Tom Garrett 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"...in Colorado it is illegal to even capture rain water?"

Techically, it is here too--at least in this area. It all belongs to SRP as "surface water."

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robbin flowers 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, According the Arizona Department of Water Quality, SRP doesn't own the surface water in Arizona. The surface water is not owned by anyone, I too was under the impression that SRP (a private corporation) owned the water but they do not, (unless they managed to change that in the past year.) But it is interesting that for some reason that illusion is floating around. Every time I ask someone "who owns the water" the answer is always SRP.

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Pat Randall 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Some of the money from Brooks should be used to drain and clean Green Valley Lakes. We are not getting water back into the ground from there because so much mud and garbage in the bottom of the lakes are sealing it off like concrete would. The water is going right on down American Gulch.

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robbin flowers 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, I just looked into it a little further. I did some pretty heavy research in this area about 1.5 yrs ago. I really need to find that info. It used to be called the Arizona Department of Water Quality and Resource Management. Now that has been divided into two, the ADEQ and ADWR. This is a "divide and concur" technique. Something very fishy is going on here!

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Pat Randall 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Robbin. SRP owns all the run off water from the Tonto national forest except for the people who filed thier claims on thier wells and irrigation water on the ranches way back in the 70's. We had a ranch west of Payson and had to fill out claims for our irrigation water. Green Valley park lakes has some allotement but as long as they aren't cleaned out the water does not go back into the ground. Payson water dept. and the sewer district need to get together and CLEAN it. You are allowed to drill a well for home use. You have to get a permit from the Ariz water dept. and each well has a number given to it. Payson can not stop you, and they can not put a meter on it an charge you for your water. That has been tried.
Of course they can buy property next to you and drill a deeper well to drain yours. That has been done too. Doesn't always work for them but sometimes it does. Then you have a dry well.

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Barbara Rasmussen 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Where is the revenue from the sale of Payson water to an outside entity going? Is it going into the Water Department Budget or into the General Fund? Also is it listed anywhere on the Town's budget as revenue/income? Something just does not sound right with this deal.

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Tom Garrett 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"Tom, According the Arizona Department of Water Quality, SRP doesn't own the surface water in Arizona."

Never said they owned all the surface water in the state. I said, "...in this area."

Basically, what it amounts to is this: We can capture the rainfall that lands on our property. We can also drill a well into "groundwater" (water which is now flowing underground as a result of runoff). What we can't do is mess with water that flows across our property.

Here are ADWR's comments on that. They go way back as I suppose you discovered.

"Rights to surface water in Arizona are subject to the doctrine of prior appropriation, which is based on the tenet “first in time, first in right”. This means that the person who first put the water to a beneficial use acquires a right that is superior to all other surface water rights with a later priority date. Under the Public Water Code, beneficial use is the basis, measure and limit to the use of water. The surface water rights system is further discussed in a later sub-section. "

As Pat said, everything (per ADWR) is based on the 1910 Kent Decree. "The Kent Decree (1910) determined that almost 240,000 irrigable acres in the Salt River Valley had a right to water diverted from the Salt and Verde rivers for agricultural purposes and determined which lands were entitled to receive water from Roosevelt Lake. The Salt River Valley Water Users Association is responsible for the proper accounting and delivery of water pursuant to the decree."

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Tom Garrett 10 months, 3 weeks ago

PS: Do me a favor folks. Use the Post Comment box below the LAST post, not the Reply Button below one of the earlier posts. Using that button screws up the sequence of comments. Thanks.

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don evans 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Has anyone on here ever filed a freedom of information request with the Town of Payson? How involved is it? What does it cost and will they nickel and dime you to death for providing copies of what you have requested. Sort of a subtle way of dissuading you from doing it. This water thing may justify doing it as I don't believe a full detailed answer will be obtained by just asking a Town Dept. Rep. Barbara, excellent questions to add to the list.

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Pat Randall 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, You can put barrels all over your property and catch rain water. But you can't build a pond or lake and catch water. There are several water companies like SRP. RWCD is one and it is in the valley. Roosevelt Water Conservation District. There are others on the western side of the state. Can't remember the name of them. Yuma farmers get water out of the Colorado river then it runs down on into Mexico.

Don, Yes I have filed many freedom of information requests several years ago. When I first started I just ask for what I wanted then later I had to fill out forms and the town attorney had to read them and I paid 50 cents a sheet. The other day I filed one and when I called to see if it was ready was told it would be a few more days as the attorney, town manager and someone else had to look at it and I had not made it specific enough. Told the clerks office to forget it. I think it is a $1.00 a sheet now but not sure. I wanted part of the budget to see what the salaries were for certain positions, and information on the cargo bins as there has been an ordinance against them on private property for over 10 yrs. Only 2 I know of that were removed becaused I filed a complaint and it took over a yr. to get them removed. Ordinances are complaint enforced. My opinion, they didn't want me to have the things I requested before the council meeting. So I told them to forget it. Tried to see LaRon Garret and the town attorney the first day I went in and lo and behold they were both out of Town.

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robbin flowers 10 months, 3 weeks ago

This charging for information is another new ploy to keep people in the lark. They take our money, and they don't want us to know what they are doing with it. I wonder why that is? Their immune from prosecution anyway, or may get a slap on the wrist for a complaint. It's a little like a "bullying" behavior. I'm willing to contribute to a fund for playing this game of theirs.

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Tom Garrett 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"But you can't build a pond or lake and catch water."

What about a cattle tank? Without them cattle can't surive in Arizona.

If government would learn to be more open there would be less suspicion of what they are doing.

And on the other hand, if Washington would just plug all the leaks of what should be private information we'd also be a lot better off.

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Bernice Winandy 10 months, 3 weeks ago

This string has certainly got off track. But that's ok. I did ask some hard questions. And everyone seems to enjoy the the track that has been taken. :-)

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Pat Randall 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Cattle tanks if on forest land have to be approved by the FS and probably SRP. Very few cattle ranchers own all the land thier cattle run on. Most is FS land and the rancher pays a fee for every cow, bull, calf, and horse that runs on the FS land. The FS told them how many head of animals they were allowed. We paid for 150 head of livestock on 50 sections of land. Figure out how many acres that is for each animal. They did not destroy the forest or any other land. Some of the land they can't even get to. Cattle men were paying thier own way but a lot of people don't know that. They paid for all fences, and tanks. The tanks also benifited the deer, elk, and other wildlife. Ever think of that? Even tho the ranchers paid a fee for thier animals and built fences, the public was allowed to go on to thier allotments, leave gates open, leave thier trash and whatever. Sometimes shot livestock just for the he-- of it.

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Tom Garrett 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The Forest Service is defintely not in the business of making it easy to us any part of the forest in the ways it used to be used. The myth that cattle harm the land is just that--a myth. hard core science shows that. Logging was stopped. Now at last the Forest Service admits that it was a mistake to stop it. And on, and on, and on.

We want the forest and the animals to be preserved. Done right, that creates no conflict with ranching and logging. And done right, ranching and logging create no conflict with conservation.

Done wrong, each of them is destructive.

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Pam Mason 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I am pleased to see that the Roundup acknowledged that attendees at the PSWID Budget Meeting behaved well, and did not represent a Lynch Mob! One only had to look at the photograph taken at the meeting and printed in the Roundup, to see that we (me included) looked more like we were at a geriatric convention than trolling for trouble and violence :-)

Still the issue is we are going to be forking out even more money to PSWID for water, rates and property taxes. Indications are that we won't even get to vote on the $7,.5 Million bond. What is the betting that the Master Plan (which Mr. Lovetro says we have already got a lot of information from CH2M Hill on) will be biased in such a way that it will say "it is necessary to replace all of the water system and install hydrants now!" During the meeting held on April 25th (of which we have a recording) it is said that if the bond is in the budget they can go for one in six months. No doubt they will move forward and do it, and I think telling us that it might take almost a year for the Master Plan to be ready is a ploy, just like the rest of the budget their minds were already made up before Budget Meetings.

Officers have to be in place for six months before a recall can be considered, that would be the end of June for some..

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Pat Randall 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Are the fire trucks in Pine-Strawberry equipped to hook up to fire hydrants? Has anyone talked to them? Will the money for the fire hydrants be charged on our fire district tax or as a property tax? Who will pay for the upkeep of the fire hydrants? I think Pine is getting like Payson. Charge ahead with some hair brained idea then change everything a few months later when they find out they can't do it? Since Pine and Strawberry are not incorporated, I am not sure the PSWID has the authority to put in hydrants. Will they be put on private land or state highway? If private land it will have to be bought, condemed and paid for or given to them. I have never seen hydrants on state highways. Anyone have the answers?

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Rex Hinshaw 10 months, 3 weeks ago

On topic , I don't have a dog in this hunt. But this is another example of Ms Flowers filling up screen space with sophormic and un-educated statements. I commented on this on another thread. I know this is a first amend. right. But if we are ever going to discuss anything....the contributors should stay on topic. And I really don't appreciate the "trivia" when we are discussing something important about our community.

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Pat Randall 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Rex, If you are after me I am sorry. Won't comment any more on this thread, but I do pay over $1000 taxes on a house in Pine that is less than 1200 sq. ft. and over 50 years old. Don't have a water meter so don't use any water.

See you at the Pioneer Dinner. (:

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Pam Mason 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Pat, I can supply some answers to your questions. Fire trucks in Pine and Strawberry can hook up to fire hydrants. The fire hydrants are to be included in the bond put forth by PSWID. Indications are that the $7.5 Million bond won't be added to our PSWID portion of the property taxes. If it were to be financed from property taxes, then we the tax payers would be allowed to vote for or against the bond. If the bond is to be paid from our water rates / installation fees then we don't get a vote. As the majority of citizens within the PSWID district don't want yet another assault on our wallets, and would vote against the bond, the PSWID board won't give us a chance to vote. The law is that PSWID would be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the hydrants. Don't know is private property is involved with the placement of hydrants because the board says they don't have a plan, or at least not one that they are willing to tell us about.

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Pat Randall 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Pam, Thanks. I told Rex I would stay off this, but he knows I can't be quiet. What law says PSWID would be responsible for the hydrants? Are they going to charge the fire dept for using them later? If the board doesn't have a plan, they shouldn't be borrowing money. They won't be around to worry about paying it off. Seems to me things are starting to smell worse with everything that is going on.

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Pam Mason 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I was at a Pine Strawberry Fire Board Budget meeting and the Fire Chief was asked by the P/S Fire board who would be responsible for the maintenance/upkeep of any hydrants proposed by PSWID? The Fire Chief immediately replied that it is the law that PSWID would be responsible. Chief appears to be on top of things and I will ask more info on hydrants at next Fire Board meeting. Thanks for the good questions Pat.

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Tom Garrett 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"Officers have to be in place for six months before a recall can be considered, that would be the end of June for some."

As I said, though it saddens me to think that it has come to this, I am ready to sign.

Pat, Rex was definitely NOT speaking to you.

As to fire hydrants (boy am I tired of having to comment on nonsense subects!), we never asked for them, we don't need them, we don't want them, and the only question in my mind is who is going to make a buck if they are installed? I would ask the exact same question about digging up and replacing the whole system.

It comes to this: What is the very worst thing that could ever happen to the water system? Answer: Having to replace everything. So how does it make any sense to deliberately cause the very worst thing that can happen to happen?

Something is very wrong about all this. Someone is going to make a lot of money doing all that work with our $7.5 million. Who is it?

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Pat Randall 10 months, 3 weeks ago

They will be back for more with all thier grand ideas, but no plans in place.

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Deb Schwalm 10 months, 3 weeks ago

In this thread, we are speaking and commenting about Pine Strawberry Water or PSWID, not Payson issues. Please go to the Payson Water comments for that topic. Thanks

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don evans 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Ms. Schwalm, I think the taking of Payson Water by Brooke Utility is very relevant to what happened to Pine/Strawberry. It's almost the same scenario. Let the water delivery system go into disrepair with no intention of fixing it. Then they have to haul water and raise your rates. That's why your community's bought them out. Now Mesa Del is going through the same crud with Brooke. And I'll bet that few Payson residents know of the agreement to take water from Payson so Brooke can haul water cheaply to Mesa Del and triple their rates until the magic pipeline comes on line. We are all in this together and these issues are related like it or not.

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Pat Randall 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Deb, If you know about how the Payson water system works and the issues we have here, some problems may be eliminated from PSWID before you have them.

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Deb Schwalm 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The PSWID board is not listening to ANYONE right now, least of all the example of Payson water. I just listened to the recording of May 18 - budget hearing. The board had no intention of changing ANYTHING and looked at the meeting as a painful necessity - just like we feel about them.

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Tom Garrett 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I walked around the neighborhood to see where the PSWID easement runs in the area where I live. Trying to put fire hydrants here would be nothing short of a nightmare. The easement runs between the back yards of the houses on opposite sides of each block. That's where the meters are. The front fences are right on the edge of each property, right where the county easement ends. So are full grown pines and who knows how many junipers.

There are berms to consider, asphalt and concrete driveways, culverts, a dozen other problems, just in this one development. Imagine the condemnation procedures, the long drawn out law cases if some owners feel the solution is unreasonable, the cost of ripping up and replacing fences and moving and replacing small buildings, the anger, the problems trying to run large enough pipes where they would have to go, the damage done to property if something that large springs a leak, the need to maintain it all, the time, the work, the cost of "consultants," the wasted effort.

Why $7.5 million wouldn't even make a dent in the cost if that's the way things are everywhere here in Pine and Strawberry, and I see no reason why they would not be.

My advice to all residents of Pine and Strawberry is to go look around your neighborhood to see where the water pipes run, to check on where on your property they might put a fire hydrant, to consider the cost, the disruption of your life, the damage to your property.

And for what? For hydrants we do NOT want and do NOT need. This is not a big city. We are speaking of two small rural villages. There will NEVER be enough water to change them into anything else, and therefore there will NEVER be enough households to make such a grandiose project affordable.

Someone has delusions of grandeur.

Where do I sign?

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Deb Schwalm 10 months, 2 weeks ago

 Just listened to the recordings of the May 18 - budget hearing. Most of the board had no intention of altering the budget after listening to the public outcries to tone down the aggressive budget proposal. There were two deputy sheriffs present at this hearing. The board must have expected a strong response.
 Also, the Board keeps harping on there's no one attending the meetings - it's just an excuse they pull out when the public is unhappy. I've been at some of the meetings and the public can only make comments at the end of the meeting after submitting a BLUE CARD and then they have permission to ask a question WITHOUT GETTING ANY ANSWER. **Why would anyone bother to attend a meeting and feel completely powerless at the end of it?** There is no public input at the meetings - only childish bullying and outbursts by Gary Lovetro and six members of the board ignoring everything Sam Schwalm says.
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Tom Garrett 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Thanks, Deb.

It's hard to believe that in a small rural community such as this there could exist a board, supposedly of people from the community, that would rule like George III. I have lived in so many places it would take a paragraph to describe them all, and I have never seen anything like it.

I will be bluntly honest. If Lolly were well we would long since have moved elsewhere, even though we love this place and never imagined ourselves ever leaving.

Because I scan the net for news every day I see the difference between this place and the rest of Arizona, not to mention the rest of the west. What we have here is appalling. If we have a recall election and clean house one thing I would strongly suggest is that the number of board members be drastically reduced. It should never have been seven members; too hard to find that many public-spirited citizens in such a small community. Three would be enough, and the rule should be that none of them is currently engaged in any local business, or has a family member so engaged. We have a very large, very experienced, and very active retirement community. We do not need someone who has other axes to grind. The conflict is obvious and destructive.

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