Petition Initiated Without Representation

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Editor:

Property owners of the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District (PSWID) are being asked to sign a petition to "incur expenses" for:

1) acquiring the Pine and Strawberry Water Companies, including the Magnolia Pipeline,

2) improving these water systems after acquisition, and

3) developing new ground and surface water resources.

The petition states that "expenses shall not exceed $12.12 million and that ... property be assessed for such purposes." It does not itemize or estimate what each of the "purposes" will cost.

In fact, Brooke Utilities, which owns the two water companies and pipeline, has not suggested a purchase price and may not be interested in selling. The water system infrastructure has not been inventoried for repair, and at this time, the petitioners have no idea what it will cost to develop new water resources. How can we sign a petition that contains no estimates for the major purposes it advocates?

The petition's title, "Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District Petition to Incur Expenses" may imply to the citizen that it has the authority of the PSWID behind it. However, this is absolutely not the case, making the title misleading. The petition was initiated by two people, Ray Pugel (owner of Bishop Realty) and Loren Peterson (developer of Strawberry Hollow and the Strawberry Hollow Domestic Water Improvement District). How can we sign a petition that implies the authority of PSWID when, in fact, it has no such authority or majority representation from that group?

Do the residents and property owners within PSWID understand that currently they are not represented by a board of directors from their district? Do they know that the recently appointed PSWID "Advisory Group" members living within their district and supposedly representing the viewpoint of property owners and residents, have no authority or voting power? How can we sign a petition that has not been scrutinized and accepted by a PSWID group or board that represents the interests of the taxpayers?

For my part, I cannot sign this petition. It is premature, requiring much more definition and study before we can understand the pros and cons of this large debt. We are all familiar with "taxation without representation" and for me, this is "petition (initiated) without representation."

Wes Suhr, member, PSWID Advisory Group, Pine

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