Brooke Utilities President Bob Hardcastle on Friday signed a joint agreement to begin settlement talks for the purchase of the Pine and Strawberry water companies by the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District.
District representatives had earlier signed the joint agreement because it was approved at a Jan. 15 board meeting.
Now that both parties have signed, the board will receive about $287,000 — the amount remaining from the $300,000 held in escrow from the Joint Well Development Agreement for the K2 Well.
Brooke Utilities spokesperson Myndi Brogdon warned water users that the agreement doesn’t mean the acquisition of the companies by the district is a done deal.
“This is not an agreement to sell or buy, but an agreement to negotiate in good faith towards a conclusion,” she said.
Brogdon also said the agreement to negotiate stipulates both sides must set aside “various legal proceedings in order to focus on the negotiations for purchase (or) acquisition of PWC and Strawberry Water Company.”
Which means, Hardcastle must dismiss his arbitration claims against the district and PSWID will drop the Certificate of Convenience and Necessity revocation application it has filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Also, the district board must file status reports with the ACC involving the agreement proceedings and arbitration claims.
Brogdon said the agreement also stipulates that PSWID’s acquisition of the water company must be wrapped up no later than July 1.
The first settlement meeting is set for Feb. 5 in Phoenix.