Community Needs Water Not Misleading Information



My name is Jim Richey and I am a new member of the Pine/Strawberry Water Improvement District Board (PSWID).

There is a special interest group that would like to buy or condemn Pine Water Company (PWCo) through use of the district board. They would like to keep the community off the focus that we need water in Pine and Strawberry.

This group continues to bring up misleading information to help meet their goals. In a recent article the group stated, "The conflict has to do with the purchase of property from the Pine Water Company by board member, Jim Richey." The reporter stated, "According to Sherlock, the new board member made the real estate transaction before coming on the board. This was addressed in the June meeting, Sherlock said.

Again, let's set the record straight, yes, I purchased property from PWCo before becoming a board member. About half of the property is located in Pine Creek. We purchased only the property that the condemned tanks were located on. There are two adjacent parcels still owned by PWCo.

The transaction of both the tanks and land were handled by a local title company. Contracts were signed in June 2006, money was in escrow in September 2006, and the final escrow documents signed in December 2006, after the survey was completed.

I was voted onto the PSWID board in January 2007 and attended the first meeting in February 2007. We own the Pine Creek RV Park located between the Milk Ranch Well property and where the tanks were.

The tanks were condemned by Gila County. I was told this in the Gila County Supervisors office. Also, the Arizona Department of Water Resources indicated the tanks were not suitable for potable water.

They had been open to the environment and not been used for over a decade. These tanks were dangerous to the children in the area and clearly a big eyesore to everyone in the community and to our RV Park.

Originally, I was going to sell the tanks to a scrap metal company in Phoenix. Later, Harry Jones (Gila County Water Representative) stated that Gila County needed one of the tanks that seemed to be fixable for a non-potable fire protection project.

Gila County would contract to scrap the two bad tanks and fix the non-potable useable tank, give us $5,000 for all the construction issues, and give us a tax donation for the large fire protection tank. You will now find the donated non-potable fire protection tank located at the Buckhead Landfill. Also, another smaller tank was donated to the Pine Strawberry Fire District and located at the intersection of Fossil Creek and Highway 87.

What's the conflict? There is none! The special interest group is using smoke screens to push their hidden agenda, including hatred and animosity. The community needs the water, not misleading information!

Jim Richey

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