Why Is Gila County So Interested In The Success Of One Developer?


As Barbara Johnson says regarding Supervisor Christensen, "He's done a great deal for this community. We have more paved roads, more police protection."
That may be, but when it comes to producing water, Supervisor Christensen has accomplished little or nothing, and his political subordinates, the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District, have not, after more than five years, produced a single additional drop of water in northern Gila County.
The Roundup's term "water war" in Pine and Strawberry may be a little overstated. The latest litigation involving Gila County is more than unfortunate. It's unnecessary. With far-sighted local leadership, the current battle may have been averted.
Nevertheless, Gila County continues to persist in the issuance of more and more building permits in an area that they already acknowledge is water deficient.
It isn't a matter of Brooke not doing enough. In fact, Supervisor Christensen and every customer of Brooke's in the area knows that Brooke has done more for the local water situation than all previous owners of these troubled water companies combined. No other water purveyor had the resources, engineering and operational wherewithal to accomplish the 10,300-foot-long Project Magnolia connecting the water systems of Pine and Strawberry.
For Supervisor Christensen to publicly attribute this year's water supply success (252 consecutive days without restriction) in Pine to Brooke's discovery of an illegal connection in Strawberry, reveals his true political motivations and his superficial understanding of local water issues.
The water situation is very simple. It's the politics of the area that make the situation very complex. The objectives are mutually exclusive. You can't have more property-tax revenues if you can't have growth. And, you can't have growth if you don't have water.
It is a very safe bet that if Brooke had not done its job, the 2001 summer would have been a repeat of the water-use restrictions that have plagued Brooke and its customers in the past.
Students of local politics should replay the recent events: The approval of Strawberry Hollow's application for its own water improvement district was scheduled by the Board of Supervisors before the vote was ever taken to delete it from the existing Gila County political subdivision of the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District.
The burning question that must be answered is: Why is Gila County really so intensely interested in the success of one developer in Strawberry Hollow?
Robert T. Hardcastle,

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