Late last year the PSWID began to evaluate purchasing the Milk Ranch Well. The well is owned by Ray Pugel and Robert Randall. The initial task was to run some tests on the well and have an appraisal done. It was found that instead of it being a well, it had become a very deep hole in the ground. It was plugged with so much sand that no water could be extracted. Mr. Pugel refused to pay for the repairs to his well, so PSWID paid to repair the well. At least $120,000, as of the end of June.
The appraisal for Strawberry Hollow arrived and at $163,000 to $210,000 it was significantly less than the price being asked. Since the Milk Ranch Well would appraise for a similar value, Mr. Pugel attempted to have PSWID use his favored appraiser. When that failed, a deal was quickly reached before the appraisal (which was nearing completion) arrived. The PSWID board agreed to purchase the Milk Ranch Well for $570,000 and the appraisal effort was stopped.
At $570,000 for the Milk Ranch Well and the rumored price of $475,000 for the Strawberry Hollow Well, the board is planning to spend several times the appraised value for both wells. In an effort to hide the fact that they are overpaying for the Milk Ranch Well, the board refuses to obtain an appraisal.
In a recent board meeting, board member Richard Dickinson admitted that the well had no value before the community’s money was spent to fix it. The community paid to create the value of the well and then has to pay again for that value when it buys the well. It is basic common sense that you don’t pay to make something more expensive before you buy it.
The PSWID board is working for the best interests of Mr. Pugel, rather that the best interests of the community as a whole. The board has spent significant amounts of public money improving the value of a private citizen’s property, and then is refusing to do the due diligence to support the price that they have agreed to pay for that property.
The PSWID board needs to realize that Pine is not Chicago and that the use of political influence to empty the public purse will not be tolerated. They were elected to make decisions that benefit the community as a whole, not just for the benefit of a few.
It is time for them to take a step back and do what is needed to ensure that purchasing the Milk Ranch Well is a good value to the community.