After first attending the PSWID board meeting on Thursday, February 21, and then seeing the bright yellow-orange fliers put out by PSWID in the newspapers, I feel compelled to write again.
At the board meeting Feb. 21, there was a presentation regarding the progress of the K2 well project, and projected time frame for completion of the project, and water to be in the system. The consultant noted that, without logistical or legal problems, the earliest possible projected date for usable water being ready to enter the system was July 29.
However, in the advertising flier put out by PSWID in the newspaper, the board members up for recall stated that support of the K2 well would help eliminate hauling charges this summer. To quote the flier, "By quickly providing a new source of water, the costly water hauling ($224,000.00 in 2007) can be avoided."
Those of us in Pine know that our dry time, with the greatest water restrictions and shortages, usually is from May until the monsoons hit, sometime around July 4th, typically.
Last year, we were hit with the hauling charges on water usage from mid-April until early August, assessed on our May through September bills. If the water is not available until at the very earliest, July 29, the K2 well is totally irrelevant for hauling charges in the summer of 2008.
To pretend otherwise, as a means of justifying support for the current board, is highly deceptive. This summer, however, both Pine and Strawberry will feel the pain of hauling charges, unless our unusually wet spring continues (too bad we no longer have a system to store the precipitation/ground charge we are getting now... the storage tanks were sold... but that is another long story).
It also appears that there will be additional legal problems, as it was disclosed by audience members at the end of the meeting that to implement the K2 well, legal processes have began to condemn portions of the property of at least one neighbor of the K2 well site, to provide access needed. I can't imagine that this will occur without a fight.
The second item of the meeting involved Wes Suhr outlining to the group the preliminary results of the Phase II survey of subsurface water in the area. It is unfortunate that, due to logistical budget issues with the fiscal year, this project was tabled. Wes Suhr has done the community a great service, by locating sites for potential future water exploration.
The third item on the agenda did not occur. A representative from Brooke Utilities was supposed to be present, to discuss questions posed to him by Gary Sherlock and the board about the status of the system infrastructure. At the end of the meeting, before the call to the public, Mr. Sherlock simply noted that Brooke Utilities stated that they had not had enough time to address the questions posed by the PSWID board.
If we are giving them $300,000.00 of our tax dollars to promote a project from which they will profit (as it was noted in the meeting that once the water from the K2 well is in the system, Brooke Utilities can then go back to the ACC to request a rate hike, based on their own costs incurred) it sure seems like they could take the time to respond to the board's questions (and to provide the community with this information).
As there were no reporters there, I just thought some people might like to know the events of the Feb. 21 PSWID meeting. I do hope everyone in Pine and Strawberry will vote on March 11. Again, the future of our communities depends on informed voters taking action.