A Very Expensive Pig In A Poke

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In reference to the petition being circulated to buy the local water companies, consider the following facts.

  • This is not a petition by the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District. The petition was originated by Loren Peterson and Ray Pugel. Mr Peterson is not a resident of either Pine or Strawberry. Mr. Pugel is owner of Bishop Realty.
  • The petition authorizes the assessment of the lots in the Pine-strawberry Water Improvement District (PSWID) up to an amount of $12,120,000.00. There are presently 4378 lots in the PSWID. Property owners could be assessed as much as $2,768.39 per lot. The assessment for an owner with four lots could be over $10,000.00.
  • The petition states that the money will be used to purchase the Pine and Strawberry Water Companies and the Magnolia pipe line, improvement of distribution systems, and development of water resources. An independent assessment sets the value of the water companies at approximately $4,000,000.00. This leaves $8,120,000.00 for vaguely stated purposes. Truly a pig in a poke.
  • If this petition is passed, all property owners in Pine and Strawberry will be subject to assessment. This includes owners with private wells and property owners in Strawberry as well as Pine. But Strawberry has adequate water resources. In the year 2002, for example, a surplus of over 11 million gallons of water was "wheeled" from Strawberry to Pine over the Magnolia pipe line. Property owners who have no water problems will pay up to $2,768.39 per parcel to support this venture.
  • Nothing has been done to find or develop new water sources since revocation of the authority of the PSWID Board of Directors.
  • If this petition is passed, control of all water resources in Pine and Strawberry will pass to the Gila County Board of Supervisors. None of the supervisors resides in Pine or Strawberry. "We" will not own or control the water system as Mr Estess states.
  • Finally, if the PSWID Board of Directors is reconstituted, drills a well at the site identified by the hydrological investigation previously sponsored by the PSWID, the water pumped will belong to the citizens of Pine and Strawberry, not to Brooke Utilities as stated by Mr. Estess. The cost of drilling the well will be approximately $800,000.00. A far cry from $12,120,000.00.

Glenn L. Brown, PSWID Advisory Group Member, Strawberry

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