Ray Pugel Sincerely Believes In What He Is Doing



Had a surprise visitor at my door Monday evening -- Ray Pugel. He introduced himself politely and asked if I had time to talk. Although he appeared to be someone quite easy to like, I had to tell him that I don't do business at home and that if he had comments to make he should do it "in writing" on the "I'm Listening" blog on payson.com or in a letter to the editor to the Payson Roundup. However, without sounding angry or combative, he said he didn't want to respond in writing. He didn't explain why.

He then pointed out that I had made errors in my most recent column. My ears perked up at that, because, in fairness to anyone affected by what I write, I want anything that appears on the "I'm Listening" blog, or in the "Your Turn" column, to be accurate.

And Ray was right. So, let's correct those errors right here and now. First of all, the article describing the new well in Pine failed to mention that it had been cased, and in the absence of this vital detail, I naturally described it as a "drill hole." But Ray tells me that it is cased, and I certainly believe him, and so I apologize for my error. It is a true "well" not just a drill hole. I stand corrected.

Secondly, I stated that the amount asked of the people of Pine and Strawberry for the purchase package involving Pine Water Company was $8 million.

I was wrong. That was a preliminary figure I had seen. The final figure requested was $12 million -- $4 million for the water company and an additional $8 million for water exploration and needed repairs of the infrastructure. So, even though my figure was an understatement of the cost to the people of Pine and Strawberry, and increasing the figure simply underscores the points I made, I apologize for the error.

The $2,000 that I said it would cost each household to buy the water company was correct (the actual figure is $2,184), but now that I have the actual amortization schedule in writing (thanks to Ray), and can include the cost of the entire $12 million at 5 percent interest, the total cost comes to $6,547 per household, paid over 20 years.

I was in the middle of dinner when Ray came to my door, but I didn't want to just shoo off someone who was so doggone likable. So, I took the time to ask a few questions. I told Ray that I was dead serious when I suggested that he buy the water company and do what he thought needed doing. His answer was, "I'm a businessman. I would never buy Pine Water. It would cost too much in repairs."

Ray also told me -- and he sounded quite sincere when he spoke of his feelings for this area -- that even if he "never sold another house in Pine" he would want to see the water situation resolved. He also pointed out that he had joined with Robert Randall in spending $249,000 to drill a well because he was "frustrated that no one was doing anything."

So, I got to meet a gentleman who certainly seems to believe he has the right answer.

I still disagree with him, because I think buying Pine Water is a bad idea for reasons previously stated, but it was a pleasure meeting him.

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