All this business about the K2 well and Strawberry not getting a fair share of the water and PSWID intentionally doing harm to Strawberry's residents is just gibberish. It is a smoke screen to stir up the public in an effort to attack the existing water purveyor, Brooke Utilities Inc. It is also an attempt to create a move for a buyout, forming a water company or district -- an initiative that failed a few years ago. If this were not true, the leaders of this initiative would have accepted my invitation to sit down and talk so we could come to an agreement on issues. Since shortly after our K2 presentation meeting in May, an invitation has been extended with no response, especially to Fred Krafczyk. The effort of the opposition has nothing to do with getting water for the community. The fear is if the K2 is successful, there would be one less reason to criticize Brooke Utilities Inc.
To set the record straight, PSWID is acting legally for both the communities of Pine and Strawberry. Our agreement with Pine Water Company is about water exploration.
What we could have done, and did not, is spend $300,000 on a test well. Then, if we had found water, we would have needed to create a method to drill a well, hopefully capable of producing at least 150 GPM, which is needed by the communities and get it into distribution. We could then go through the lengthy process to ask the taxpayers in the communities to approve a $800,000 bond to drill a well, become a water purveyor. And then hope Brooke Utilities Inc. would buy enough water from us to pay for the well. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the cost to taxpayers would have been much greater.
But PSWID is not a water purveyor.
Now let me explain what our agreement accomplishes.
PSWID will put down test well on the K2 site and confirm what our research has indicated: there is sufficient water for a production well. At this point Pine Water Company has agreed to invest up to $1.3 million of its money to drill an adequate well and build infrastructure to connect to the distribution system.
Now the best part, Pine Water Company will pay back the taxpayers' $300,000 to PSWID and pay 6 percent on our investment.
How could PSWID carry out its assignment to explore for water with a better deal than that?
Is there risk? Yes, there is always a risk, but a closely controlled risk -- certainly not "high-risk wildcat drilling," as stated by the opposition group lead. Our contract provides for the opportunity to pull out along the way. If final geophysical tests indicate this is not a good location, we can change to another site. We still have the $300,000.
To address more of the "gibberish":
- "This agreement is both controversial and discriminatory" -- if it was so controversial for Strawberry residents, where were they during the 10 months the agreement was being structured by PSWID? PSWID had open meetings every month, all open to the public. There are also two property owners on the PSWID board from Strawberry.
- Presuming the PSWID Board did not receive proper legal advice is just more gibberish. PSWID received counsel from the county attorney and hired legal counsel highly experienced in water contracts, William Sullivan of Curtis, Goodwin, Sullivan, Udall & Schwab, P.L.C. Sullivan is also the attorney for the City of Gilbert. For advice concerning financial issues, we obtained the services of Curtis Shook with Peacock Hislop. This team assisted us during all contract negotiations and during PSWID executive sessions, always representing both Pine and Strawberry interest.
- As to the belief that "appropriate due diligence was not performed" -- This is referring to their opinion that an assessment of the K2 site was not performed in regard to septic tanks and easements, prior to the agreement being signed. This step was planned to take place before the first stage of construction. The process requires substantial cost to the Pine Water Company, and did not need to be accomplished until after the agreement was signed by both parties. If this "due diligence" resulted in a negative outcome, the K2 site would be unacceptable to both parties and a better site would be investigated.
- As to the benefits for Strawberry, the water will be available to Strawberry and a valve will be installed to supply Strawberry. The historical 11 million gallons of water used by Pine from Strawberry can also be transferred.
Residents of Pine and Strawberry, please exercise your right to sign any petition you feel supports your position, but do this until after you know the facts. Some residents say they have been pressured to sign a petition they didn't understand. If you need more information go to www.pswid.org; ask a board member; or visit the Pine Library.
To end the water shortage for both Pine and Strawberry please support the PSWID K2 well project.