Howard Matthews, shame on you. You should and do know better. The smoke and mirrors of "control your own destiny" is not fooling the residents of Pine into allowing anyone to send them into a deficit they can't afford. To add a veiled threat to Strawberry shows just how desperate the tactics of a small, but vocal minority have become.
Along with Pine Water Company's notice to customers was an example of an average bill indicating each customer's increment will be different, especially with the tiered rates. If you use more, you pay more. Rate increases are a regular part of the utility business. In 2008, the Arizona Corporation Commission expects Pine Water Company to apply again.
This is a business. We are expected by law to run it in a reasonable and prudent manner. The fate and economic abilities of our rate payers are always dominant factors. Of course we intend to safely sell as much product as we can. What possible benefit is there in less water?
Let's play this out -- if we have less water, local businesses suffer, real estate suffers, the population decreases and we have fewer customers. How do we benefit from that?
Of the five districts in Pine Mr. Matthews mentioned, we serve 2,000 meters. The others combined serve less than 10 percent, one serves none and Solitude Trails would have no water at all if we didn't "wheel" the water to them.
Residents of Pine and Strawberry have been educating themselves. Many have spent time with myself and with members from the ACC. They are participating in a solution, moving forward. You should try to do the same.
I congratulate the newly elected members of the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District for having the courage to accept a very hard task. I encourage them to look at all the possibilities before them. Rule nothing out. Consider the unconventional and controversial. Brooke Utilities will be in attendance to support them, as should the residents at large.
The community is facing a prolonged water crisis. This is the same crisis we have been saying is coming for years. The winter season only defers the problem for a while.e desperately need political leadership at the local, county and state levels that has been absent for a long time. We need active residents.
All of us need to work toward a solution.
Robert T. Hardcastle, President, Brooke Utilities