5 Seek 4 Spots On Pine/Strawberry Water Board

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Voters have the opportunity for a voice in the direction of the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District Board by adding a maverick member who has been critical of the board’s actions or keeping the incumbents.

Voters happy with the board’s actions since a recall election was held in March can cast their votes for incumbent members Terry Schleizer, Richard Dickinson, Donald Smith and Tom Weeks.

Those opposed to the board’s course might choose to vote for Sam Schwalm who volunteered last summer to replace resigning member Barbara Hall but was turned down by the board.

Schwalm, a member of the watchdog group Water For Pine Strawberry, has criticized the board both publicly and on his Web site.

He opposed the appointment of John Gliege as the PSWID attorney, claims the board is run by a Pine-Strawberry Realtor, presumably Ray Pugel, and that members erred in making two offers to purchase the Pine and Strawberry water companies. He also argues that Strawberry is getting a raw deal in being included in the proposed purchase.

The current board, which Schleizer is vice chairman, and Dickinson secretary, appears to be tight-knit and united in its efforts to take over the two tiny mountain hamlet’s water systems.

Most current members argue that the future of the two towns depends on wrestling control of the water systems away from Brooke Utilities and its much-maligned president Robert Hardcastle.

They contend Hardcastle is unresponsive to the needs of water users, has allowed the water systems to fall into disrepair and hasn’t been truthful about the dollar value of the two systems.

Of the current board members, Ron Calderon, Michael Greer, Schleizer and Dickerson won their seats in a hotly contested recall election held last March.

Weeks was appointed after the election to replace Hall. Donald Smith and William Haney, the board chairman, were members of the previous board.

The Oct. 17 edition of the Payson Roundup will feature questions and answers from the five members running for re-election.

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