New Information On Age Of Payson Water Company Changes Sv’S Position

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New information on the age of Brooke Utilities water facilities serving Star Valley undercut the council’s resolve to purchase the Payson Water Company earlier this month.

Star Valley’s contract water attorney Marvin Cohen said the information released to the town’s appraiser three days before a scheduled condemnation court date indicated the water facility servicing Star Valley is newer than the average system owned by Brooke and therefore more valuable.

When Star Valley’s appraiser drew up a cost estimate, he had limited information to go on, Cohen said.

“All we had was the facility information that was served by all of Payson Water Company, including Pine,” Cohen said. “What we did not have was the age of the facility serving Star Valley.”

Because the age of the facility was unknown, he could not value the facilities, except to compare it on a whole to the system. The facilities in Star Valley, which serve some 300 people, make up 22 percent of the connections for Brooke.

Based on the percentage, the appraiser valued the system at $400,000. Brooke rejected that offer saying the system was worth more.

“We had been asking for those numbers since the beginning,” said town attorney Tim Grier.

“The numbers were only recently provided, making it difficult for us to put any real value on it.”

The council may try to purchase the water company in the future, he said.

Star Valley started condemnation proceedings in August to acquire the water company under court order, but stopped Sept. 2.

Cohen said the council realized the appraiser would have to revise the original appraisal and the value would be higher.

Although the town has no immediate plans to purchase the water company, Cohen said the town is keeping its options open.

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