Water Opponents Move Toward Legal Action

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Pine and Strawberry residents who want to put the brakes on the deal to drill a deep well with tax money have moved to legal action.

The deal, between the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District and the Pine Water Company, owned by Brooke Utilities, would use $300,000 in tax money to explore the potential productivity of a well site in Strawberry, known as the K2 well. The water company would then commit up to $1 million to develop the well. The water produced then would be used in Pine.

Concerned Citizens of Pine/Strawberry Arizona have asked Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores to look into the actions of PSWID in regard to the deal. The group is also asking Flores to take injunctive relief to prohibit the use of tax money in the project.

Flores indicated her office has no authority to seek an injunction under the state constitution. The request was filed Oct. 22.

Another resident of the community, Cindy Maack, has filed a formal objection with the Arizona Corporation Commission regarding the water company's request to encumber part of its plant and system and issue evidence to indebtedness.

The commission was scheduled to begin hearings on the request Friday, Oct. 26. The commission is scheduled to hear additional comments on the matter in Pine on Dec. 4.

"In addition to the hearing that will take place on the K2 well issue on Friday, Oct. 26 at 10 a.m. at the commission, we have also scheduled a public comment session on the issue to be held in Pine," Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes told the Roundup.

"That meeting will take place Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the Pine Elementary School, at 6:30 p.m. While we welcome anyone who would like to drive down and attend the hearing on Friday, we also want to let folks know that the commissioners will be traveling to Pine to take public comment on the K2 well issue, so that anyone who can't make the hearing will have the opportunity to comment."

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