Judge Dismisses Suit Challenging Diamond Star Incorporation

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It's now official and final -- Diamond Star is a town.

A lawsuit challenging the town's right to incorporate was tossed out by Superior Court Judge Colin Campbell last week. No other challenges can be filed because the deadline is past.

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Chuck Heron

While Campbell has not yet officially released his decision, Town Attorney Fredda Bisman said her office was informed late last week that the decision was made.

"We were read what the judge had written," Bisman said. "Frankly, we would be very hesitant to even tell anybody if we thought there was any doubt."

The lawsuit was filed in November by George Randall; Roy Haught; Terra Star Valley 40, one of G. Michael Horton's development companies; and several others. Randall and Haught own the well in Star Valley that will feed Horton's pipeline to Payson, and that will provide the excess water the town of Payson has agreed to purchase for $750,000.

Diamond Star council members were ebullient.

"I'm delighted," Councilor Mary Ann Kotelnicki said regarding the judge's decision. "It goes without saying we're all very happy."

Councilor Chuck Heron said it was not only the right decision, but also the only decision.

"Basically, as I look back over 90 years of Arizona case law, I don't see where (Campbell) had any other choice," Heron said.

Tuesday council meetings

The Diamond Star Town Council will hold a work-study meeting, followed by an executive session, followed by a regular meeting today (Tuesday). All Diamond Star town meetings are now being held at the Star Valley Baptist Church, 4180 East Highway 260.

The agenda for the work-study session, which begins at 4:30 p.m., includes "a discussion regarding the financial institution with which the council will open a line of credit and bank accounts."

Heron will also report on a meeting he recently had with Steve Stratton of the Gila County Public Works Division, and the posting of town manager and town clerk positions will be discussed.

On the agenda of the executive session, which is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., is a discussion and consultation with Town Attorney Fredda Bisman concerning water issues, the tax code and possible referendum, procurement regulations, and the possible acquisition of property by the town. The council will also consult with Bisman regarding hiring an attorney who specializes in water issues to assist town attorneys.

At the 6 p.m. regular meeting, the council will revisit the selection of a financial institution and posting the town manager and town clerk positions, and will also take up:

  • Finalizing the contract with LFR Levine Fricke, the environmental management and consulting engineering company that will monitor Diamond Star wells.
  • Formation of committees to begin formulating the intergovernmental contracts required between the town and Gila County for police protection and other services.

Town Hall meetings

Up to three members of the Diamond Star Town Council will meet with citizens at an old-fashioned town hall meeting at 6 p.m. on the last Tuesday of every month.

"We're going to actually have paper in the back where people can write questions down," Heron said. "Some people are a little reluctant to stand up and voice a question."

The first town hall meeting was held Tuesday, Jan. 31 with approximately 75 citizens in attendance.

"It was real interactive," Heron said. "It was good."

Heron is trying to bring LFR Levine Fricke to the next town hall meeting on Feb. 28 to discuss their study of the community's water resources.

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