Tommie Martin: Enough Talk, ‘Let My People Go'

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"No more, ‘Yeah, buts' ... I respectfully request, as someone did before me, that you ‘let my people go,'" Supervisor Tommie Martin told the Arizona Corporation Commission.

She said there has been enough talk and it is time for action. Martin, Gila County District One Supervisor, serving Pine and Strawberry, spoke at a hearing on the Pine Water Company.

It will be more than a month before the state hearing on Pine Water Company resumes.

After five days of testimony before Administrative Law Judge Dwight Nodes, the hearing on a complaint by several Pine residents wishing to leave the service area of the Pine Water Company recessed and will resume Sept. 27.

When the hearing resumes, the attorney for the plaintiffs will be questioning Robert Hardcastle, president of Brooke Utilities, which owns Pine Water Company.

Several Pine and Strawberry residents offered testimony in the case, as did Gila County District One Supervisor Tommie Martin.

Commissioner Kristin Mayes of the ACC also participated in the hearing.

"I find it interesting that the water monopoly, which in this case is virtually guaranteed a 10-percent profit without regard to whether or not it provides adequate service, just can't seem to find ‘new water'," said Martin in her testimony.

"But when entrepreneurs in private business must provide adequate water service in order to make a profit or to keep property owners satisfied, they are not only able to find water in sufficient quantities to service their clients, but they also have excess quantities to sell to the monopoly.

"It is not only the rights of owners of relatively small tracts of undeveloped land that we are concerned about here, but it is the rights of over 3,000 existing individual homeowners and over 1,000 existing vacant lot owners in the Pine/Strawberry area who cannot confidently utilize their properties because of inadequate water services.

"What I am requesting is that ACC demand that the current water monopoly, if it is to continue to hold the CC&N, actually be required to provide adequate water service (now that we know the water has been there all along) at a reasonable rate, without the added cost of hauling and unjustified guaranteed profits. This needs to be done now and with no more ‘Yeah, buts'," said Martin.

She added that she did not care how the service was provided, stating the source of the water is an issue for the company's management.

Gary Sherlock, president of the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District, submitted his testimony to the ACC in writing.

"The PSWID requests that the Arizona Corporation Commission not allow further fragmentation of the PWC certificated service area, based on four reasons: 1) Fragmentation has the effect of reducing future customers for PWC with the potential for increasing the cost to existing rate-payers; 2) Expected production from the K2 Site Well should satisfy requests for additional water for development in Pine to 2015; 3) Private wells developed within the service area which have supplemental water to offer the District should cooperate with PWC for the connection; and 4) Development should be controlled to conserve and sustain the yield of our deep aquifer.

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