It all happened so fast last summer -- the resignation and dismantling of the board of directors of the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District (PSWID).
Last spring, the board of directors requested resumes from community residents to fill vacancies on the board. Seven respected residents applied, but in late summer the chairperson pro tem, without the authority, declared all applicants unqualified.
Shortly after that, the Gila County Board of Supervisors revoked the authority of the board and assumed authority over PSWID.
Then, in late fall, the Gila County board appointed an advisory group to represent the interests of PSWID. And guess what -- it selected some members from the same group of applicants, plus some others, that (were previously) deemed unqualified.
Why were not the PSWID Board vacancies filled with the qualified applicants in the first place? Who in our community and county (including government) is profiting from the revocation of the former board of directors and their authority?
What are the priorities for PSWID now? What is best for the community?
Currently, the Gila County Board of Supervisors is making the decisions and expenditures for PSWID until a new board of directors has been duly elected. So, it is paramount that the community installs a new board of directors as soon as possible. This should be done by means of a special election held at the earliest possible time.
After the election, the new board of directors should continue working on the No. 1 priority, that is, secure new water supplies for the present distribution system. The community, under the former board of directors, funded a completed investigation which found a new source of groundwater and the most promising location for tapping it.
Now, we have to go after it.
The cost of developing the well field, drilling the wells, and providing the structures to transport this new supply to our system must be carefully estimated to procure financing.
The time and money this priority entails precludes involvement with other interests and projects until it is completed. At this time, we cannot afford to completely improve the present distribution/supply system, and we certainly cannot afford to purchase the distribution system itself -- all of which are contemplated under the current petition being circulated.
Glenn L. Brown, member, PSWID Advisory Group, Strawberry