The recall election of three Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District (PSWID) board members paved the way for the board to go ahead with its predetermined plan to use water that is conveniently available in Strawberry for the planned needs of commercial developers in Pine. This is my opinion.
I’ve owned property in Strawberry for 28 years, and over this period I don’t remember ever having any water shortage at my property, even in 2007 at the height of the drought when the Strawberry Lodge had to close one evening. If water wasn’t being delivered, it was more likely because of the drought than problems experienced by the local water company, Brooke Utilities.
If the current PSWID board succeeds in managing to get enough money (out of the pockets of the local users) to purchase Brooke Utilities in order to form a private water district, then Strawberry residents may have no control over where their water will go — to Pine developers.
I think the PSWID wants: 1) Complete control of the clean, continuous water source that Strawberry has; 2) to increase water fees to Strawberry residents (as well as to Pine residents) for the development and transport of water to the commercial and residential growth needs of Pine developers; 3) to purchase and privatize the current water company (Brooke) which will relinquish oversight from the Arizona Corporation Commission, and allow the new water entity to increase assessments and fees to existing water users; 4) to authorize expenditures associated with drilling of new well sites and acquisitions of properties and water rights with the associated costs being passed on to the Strawberry water users.
The residents of Strawberry ought to stand up and say whether they want to go along with the PSWID board to purchase of the current water company (with all of its additional associated costs), as well as the purchase and development of new well sites in Pine, or whether they want to remain with the current water company, separating themselves entirely from Pine water users.
J. P. Smith