Water Board Bores Down On Budget

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The Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District board will hold a budget study workshop at 2 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, March 28, in the Pine Cultural Center.

The purpose of the meeting is to realign the current budget to determine what was actually spent, and to plan for the 2009-2010 budget.

At the board’s March 19 meeting, member Terry Schleizer said she wanted the workshop to include public input. The board agreed to provide public information at the workshop.

Also at the meeting, the board approved hiring hydrologist Mike Ploughe to evaluate the Milk Ranch well, with a budget cap of $7,500.

Ploughe suggested the testing, including groundwater elevation trend monitoring, last for possibly a year.

“That would include studying depth of the water and how it changes over time,” Ploughe said.

Also, the testing would involve developing well operation and sediment mitigation plans and real world testing.

“Which means we want to know how to best operate the well and deal with any sediment issues,” Ploughe said.

It would involve shutting the water on and off, running at different rates of flow.

Ploughe’s evaluation will also include ensuring the well meets ADEQ’s New Source Approval standards.

“We want to be sure we are in compliance,” he said.

At the meeting, the board also voted to purchase liability insurance after members expressed concerns about having only property and casualty insurance.

In the chairman’s report, Bill Haney said settlement discussions with Brooke Utilities, owners of Pine Water Company, are continuing.

However, Brooke spokesperson Myndi Brogdon denied any contact.

She responded to a reporter’s question about any meetings by saying, “If you are asking me if we have had any communication with the district, as of the March 19 meeting, there had not been any communication between PSWID and PWC.”

Also in the chairman’s report, Haney told listeners that PSWID’s recent intervention in the water rate case before the Arizona Corporation Commission was not to support the case, but in the interest of getting financial information.

The ACC has ordered PWC to open its books to ACC staff within 60 days, and then the staff will have 90 days to file a financial status report. Haney said the district would have input into the questions the ACC asks PWC representatives.

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