Pine Board Allocates Money To Solve Water Shortages

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The Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District is on the road to recovery after its board walked out last year, and the county stepped in.

The new board, elected in November 2004, is taking an active approach toward resolving the area's water crunch. At its June 16 meeting, the board established financial guidelines and agreed on a $338,710 budget, which includes $336,025 in planned expenditures.

Among the expenses the group anticipates:

  • Operating expense, $25,650
  • Financial expense, $150,000 -- Treasurer Forrest McCoy explained this expense would become a reality in the event that the PSWID board voted to pursue a bond on behalf of improving water resources. "We would need to bring in experts to do a bond election," he said.
  • Land and development, $60,000. This money would be used to purchase rights-of-way to make use of new well sites if necessary, McCoy explained.
  • Administrative equipment, $375
  • Exploration/interest expense, $100,000

The revenues to fund the PSWID planned expenses include a $118,000 carry-over from the 2004-2005 budget, $215,340 from taxes and $2,685 interest income.

McCoy said he expects taxes for the PSWID to double in 2005-2006. Last year, because of the board's dissolution, forcing the county in to oversee its operation.

The Gila County Board of Supervisors voted to "revoke the authority of the board of directors of the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District," in August, 2003 after the seven-person board had been reduced to two members through resignations.

County Manager John Nelson stepped in to oversee the board's work.

Nelson said the district had a tax rate of 24 cents per $100,000 of assessed valuation for both fiscal year 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. This raised approximately $105,000.

The work by the county on behalf of the PSWID was limited to intervening in the rate case of the Pine Water Company that was before the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2003-2004, Nelson said.

There was very little activity on behalf of the district in 2004-2005.

The PSWID was reestablished by the county and a board election was held in the fall of 2004. The new board was seated in December and started operating the district in January 2005.

The board meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at the Pine Community Center.

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