I'll take Jim Estess' statements by the number (Letters, Jan. 27, 2004 Roundup).
1) First he says, "... seven people (former Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District Directors) could not agree on anything." This is gross exaggeration. Most importantly, they did agree with the community that finding new water was the highest priority by funding and completing the best analysis to date, "Investigation of Groundwater Availability for the PSWID." Now we know where to find a long-term water supply, the site and how deep to drill.
2) Estess states, "... there were too few (board) members to function ... so Gila County had no choice but to take control ..." No, they did have a choice in that the remaining board members could have filled the vacant seats by appointing available, qualified applicants. This would have preserved the former board, and Gila County was aware of that.
3) Estess claims, "Now, progress is being made" ... and "... all of us (are profiting) who live in the water district." Just what progress, and who is profiting? We are not going after new water supplies, the top priority according to the community. Instead, we are asked to sign a petition whose main purpose is to buy Brooke Utilities, which may not be in our best, most economical, interest. At this time, Gila County is taking action and spending PSWID's money without our knowledge until after the deal is done.
4) Estess says, "John Q. Public is cordially invited to participate in the decision-making process." You gotta be kidding, Jim. Gila County claims they are representing our community through the PSWID "Advisory Group" even though the meetings are closed to the public, agendas are prepared by Gila County, no decisions are made by the Advisory Group, and no records are kept. The Advisory Group is nothing but window dressing to cover Gila County's hidden agenda in the name of PSWID.
5) Estess wants to "... control the delivery system (Brooke Utilities)" first, "... then find more water. Otherwise, our water will become the property of Brooke Utilities and we will pay much more ..." No, if we get the additional water first, we can wholesale it to the distributor, and the community will have adequate water in the summer.
Estess' "winning team" is the current petition which advocates ousting Brooke Utilities and creates more than a $12 million slush fund to be doled out by the Gila County Board of Supervisors.
Wes Suhr, Pine, PSWID Advisory Group member