Good Pine Water Systems Require Us To Pay Our Share Of Costs



It seems that no matter how much progress we make as a community, there is always someone who gripes because progress costs money and this letter is meant for those who want the benefit of improvements, but do not agree with paying their fair share.

Anyone who has lived here for more than three years can remember when Brooke Utilities was our water “provider” and what a joke their “service” was. With frequent periods of no water at the tap and water “stages” that meant we could expect a higher bill for our water next month because water had to be hauled to our community and we could not enjoy living up here in one of the most beautiful and pleasant places on earth.

Dealing with Mr.Hardcastle, the front man for Brooke Utilities, was anything but pleasant and he used the ACC much to his advantage. I have often wondered how he got them in his pocket, but surely he must have had them there because they never met a request for a rate increase they didn’t like, or refused to grant.

So, here we are now, with a dilapidated water system that we paid too much for and must be fixed to properly serve our community, but, it is now our water system, it no longer belongs to Mr. Hardcastle and we are in control of our water. That was the first improvement.

To those who complain and want to take out their meter because they are “paying too much” for water I say, go for it, rip that sucker out, reduce your property value, increase your insurance rate, and haul your own water up the hill when you come for a visit, and, when the time comes that you need a water meter, you can pay the price to get it back.

I have been here 11 years and my water bill has been between $25 per month, when we were out of town for that month, and $180 a month during the peak season when Brooke was ripping us off for “hauling fees,” so finally having a stable and predictable water bill at only $36 is another improvement in my mind.

If you own a home up here as a “second home” it is probably because you live and work elsewhere and you can afford your second home because you squeeze a dollar until the eagle screams. The fact that you do not see the basic monthly fee as a direct benefit to you is a narrow-minded point of view.

There is a cost to fix the water system we bought from Brooke Utilities and we agreed to pay that cost when we closed the deal. We are doing that by sharing that cost equally through a basic rate charged to each property. In my mind, this is a fair way to handle the situation. Everyone now has water to use, or not, as they choose, and that is our third improvement.

If you think sending a complaint to the ACC will get you anywhere, do that, and when you receive the response that the ACC does not represent you anymore because you are in the PSWID and PSWID does not answer to the ACC, then you will understand what a lot of us up here felt when we complained to the ACC back when Hardcastle owned the water system and they did nothing for us except approve his request for another rate increase every time we complained.

I would not be in favor of a reduced rate for you as a “part timer” simply because you get the benefit of the improvements the same as I do, and I pay my fair share like everyone else.

To those that are only here when it is convenient for them to be here and all they do is complain while they are here, I say welcome to Pine, now go home.

Jim Estess


Bernice Winandy 5 years, 11 months ago

We should all remember that Hardcastle is no longer in the picture with regard to the Pine/Strawberry water situation. Bringing up and dwelling on the past is just wasting time on something we can't change and diverts energy from studying what is happening in the present. Not keeping tabs on the present could lead to mistakes that we all would regret in the future. The enemy is gone and we should be looking at how we can work together to protect the interests of all Pine/Strawberry residents.

If you go to click on PSWID Board actions and then click on Board Documents and Presentations you will find the hydrology report for the Milk Ranch Well and a copy of the "final purchase agreement" that Gary Lovetro signed at the last PSWID Board meeting.

The hydrology report is difficult reading. However, it is worth the effort because you will then know exactly what the community is getting with the purchase of the Milk Ranch Well.

The "final purchase agreement" is easier to read consisting of one page and a signature page. Is this the entire agreement? Since that is what the party who filed the public information request form was given, one has no reason to doubt that it is the entire agreement. However, one can doubt whether it is the final agreement because the document states "P.S.W.I.D. and Seller will enter into a more detailed agreement in which" which leads one to believe that what Gary Lovetro signed is not the final agreement.

While the document that Gary Lovetro signed assures that the Seller will get 50 residential meters and 2 commercial meters not subject to moratoriums and to be used anywhere in the Pine Strawberry community it does not mention anything about easements. So, does PSWID now not need easements to the property or was the omission of reference to easements in this "final" agreement an oversight by PSWID?

Please take the time to read these documents and please make every effort to attend PSWID meetings. PSWID is spending a great deal of money and we should be keeping track of where it is going. Do not open the possibility of regretting in the future that we didn't take time to study the issues in the present.


None 5 years, 11 months ago

As a part timer, I'm happy to pay my fair share. I pay for what I use and you pay for what you use. But, in the current suitualtion, the full timers and business owners are not only being subsidized by the part timers who don't use the water, but everyone is no longer being encouraged to conserve water.

Regardless, I knew this was coming. I've kept myself informed on the situation and discussed it with friends and neighbors, part timers and full timers.

If you want change, you need to make change happen. Get involved, stay informed, participate in meetings and elections.


Bernice Winandy 5 years, 11 months ago

You are right, vinman, people are being encouraged to use at least 3,000 gallons of water a month. I can just hear them say, "Well, I'm paying for it, I might as well use it!" I know full timers who, in the past, did not use 3,000 gallons of water a month. Wonder if they will up their water usage?????????????????


Pam Mason 5 years, 11 months ago

As a full timer and particularly during the summer, we did everything we could to conserve water and keep it under 2,000. Now all bets are off, and our friends feel the same way. We won't however, be as wasteful with water as the board is with our money! To part time residents please know that we welcome you as neighbors and are glad that you are able to spend some time in Pine and Strawberry. We don't happen to feel the same way about you as Mr. Estess.


Michael Warren 5 years, 11 months ago

I agree with the title of this opinion but little else. As a VALUED "part timer"...I pay the same amount of taxes as you do, and when I'm there enjoy the same sunsets and great weather as you do.

What I don't agree with is being a "part timer" and being OVERCHARGED for my share of the costs.

It's simple Mr. Estess. If you use it, pay for it. Don't make the MAJORITY pay for yours.


Bernice Winandy 5 years, 11 months ago

Gee, hauling fees, that means we were in a Stage 4 or Stage 5 when we were supposed to be cutting back on water usage and someone had a bill for $180. Wonder if that person has livestock or a large family or?????????????


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