Mr. Welge has "very relevant questions for those who are pushing for the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District to take over and purchase the Pine Water Company." I cannot answer all his questions, as I am sure they were directed at those who are perceived as "special interests" by the current PSWID board.
A few thoughts from a resident of Pine:
Shortly after moving to Pine about nine years ago, I took it upon myself to attend a PSWID Board meeting held at the fire station in Pine. When I left that meeting, it was very apparent that the board, as structured then, had no intention of resolving the water problems in Pine and Strawberry. I witnessed small town cronyism at its finest.
As substantiation of that personal observation, to this day PSWID has not added one drop of water to resolve the situation. The only successes in this village have been through the efforts of private individuals through their own initiative and disproving the "there is no water" naysayers in the process.
I personally made the trip to Phoenix to speak before the AZ Corporation Commission regarding Brooke Utilities' last request for water rate increases.
My wife and I have had several telephone conversations with representatives of the AZCC regarding the services provided by Pine Water Company (i.e. Brooke Utilities) and have come to appreciate that the AZ Corporation Commission is as much a part of the problem as is the intransigence of the ownership of Pine Water Company to solve the water issues.
When one is dealing with as vital a commodity as community water resources, the last option would be to have that vital necessity tied to an out-of-state, for-profit, water-baron enterprise. That necessary and vital commodity should be under the direct local control and management of those that actually rely upon it.
The costs? I have no idea. Just how much is control over one's vital water resource worth?
But I do suspect that the projected costs floating around when the public survey was done three years ago will eventually prove to have been a bargain. As the AZCC continues to assist Pine Water Company taking revenue from Pine/Strawberry through rubber-stamped fee increases on behalf of Brooke Utilities shareholders, the local residents will soon be paying a like amount on their monthly water bills.
Local control and ownership is not an option in my view, it is vital.
Ronald Hamric, Pine
Editor's note: This letter was shortened to fit within the 400-word limit for letters to the editor.