Water District Funded To Buyout Brooke

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  Taking a line from the 1996 comedy-drama hit film “Jerry Maguire,” Bill Haney barked “Show me the money” while waving a check to the about 20 persons who attended the Feb. 8 meeting of the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District board.

Haney, the chairman of the board, told the audience the check he was clinching was from Compass Bank and represented the money PSWID needs to finalize the purchase of the Pine and Strawberry water companies.

“We are in business,” Haney said.

The chairman, however, refused to reveal any details of a Feb. 5 meeting involving board representatives and Bob Hardcastle, president of Brooke Utilities, the parent company of the two water companies.

“It’s confidential, we cannot discuss it,” he said. “There are ongoing discussions, but that is all we can let you know at this point in time.”

Brooke spokesperson Myndi Brogdon, who attended the meeting, held in Phoenix, also refused to reveal any information.

“All parties are subject to the settlement negotiations rule and I can say no more,” she said.

The meeting, presumably to discuss the purchase of the two companies, was scheduled in mid-January after Hardcastle and the board signed a joint agreement to end litigations against one another.

Hardcastle agreed to dismiss his arbitration claims against the district and PSWID dropped the Certificate of Convenience and Necessity revocation application it had filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission.

With the signing of the joint agreement, the board received about $287,000 — the amount remaining from the $300,000 held in escrow from the Joint Well Development Agreement for the K2 well.

“It has been returned,” Haney confirmed.

While the announcement that the board had secured the money for the proposed purchase took center stage at the PSWID meeting, members also agreed to begin the process of evaluating the Milk Ranch well, which the board has the option of purchasing from Robert Randall and Ray Pugel.

Haney told the audience he would like the well to be evaluated for sand removal, which could up its production to possibly 200 to 250 gallons per minute.

Also, board members voted to fund an agreement with the engineering firm of Coe and Van Loo. CVL has worked with the district — especially at appraising Pine and Strawberry water company assets — since PSWID first began acquisition efforts last summer.

During a question and answer period at the conclusion of the board meeting, a water user asked for more information about the Hardcastle and PSWID meeting three days earlier.

Haney again responded that the board must remain hush-hush until negotiations are complete.

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