Board, Well Owners Have Verbal Agreement



In an Aug. 17 letter to the editor the Pugels and the Randalls, the owners of the Milk Ranch Well, ask that I prove the existence of a signed document that PSWID is going to pay them $570,000 for the Milk Ranch Well. This is puzzling since I have never said that such a document exists.

Nor can it be known whether such a document exists since the Milk Ranch Well negotiation is being hidden behind attorney-client privilege.

What is beyond dispute is that on May 5 the PSWID board voted to move forward with purchasing the Milk Ranch Well for $400,000, plus 50 residential and two commercial water meters. Residential meters cost $3,200 and a 2-inch meter costs $5,400, for a total meter value of $170,800. The board stated that this reflected a verbal agreement reached with Mr. Pugel and Mr. Randall several days earlier. Mr. Pugel e-mailed a written contract with those terms to the board.

Whether a signed contract exists at this moment is irrelevant. The PSWID board has made clear through a public vote that it intends to buy the Milk Ranch Well with those terms.

One document that does exist, signed by Mr. Pugel and the board, is the option to purchase the Milk Ranch Well. There is a clause that states: “The purchase price and terms would be negotiated based upon completion of an appraisal of the well, property, and easements to be conveyed …” When the PSWID board was asked why the requirement for an appraisal was not being honored, they said that both sides had agreed to ignore the clause.

The Pugels and Randalls say that they objected to the appraisal being done by someone who wasn’t a licensed appraiser and who was based out of state. The well appraisal requires specialized knowledge about water systems that a real estate appraiser does not have and it would never standup in court. Arizona Revised Statute 32-3602 states that appraiser licensing does not apply to registered engineers performing real property analysis requiring their specialized knowledge. While Tetra Tech was using an expert in the field from Tennessee to do the background work, the appraisal would have been sealed by a local Arizona registered engineer as required by state law.

Mr. Pugel says that if he had any influence that the Milk Ranch Well would have been sold long ago. The delay is because the well didn’t actually work when he started trying to sell it and it has taken some time to spend $120,000 of public money to fix it.

It still doesn’t work. It failed after a few days in May and then failed again shortly after it was restarted in June. It has been inoperable since then. Ask yourself, who else in Pine could get PSWID to spend $120,000 to fix his private property? Who could have the staff and board purged of everyone with even a mild doubt about the Milk Ranch Well? I’m sure these are all just fortunate coincidences.

Sam Schwalm


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