The reviled Hardcastle is out of the Pine/Strawberry water picture and now, sadly, some community residents are turning their rancor against each other. Some part-timers argue that they are carrying an unfair financial burden while some full-timers argue that part-timers are not willing to accept their fair share of the financial burden.
To control these mutual attacks, the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District (PSWID) needs to improve communication by doing a better job at getting the news out about the budget/rate hearing (hearing). The July 3, 2010 hearing date was set at the very last minute. While the notice of this hearing met statutory requirements, it did not do an adequate job of informing everyone, especially part-timers. To improve communication, PSWID should set a tentative 2011 hearing date now and list the date on the PSWID Web site. Hopefully, PSWID will again set the date on the July 4 weekend.
In addition, PSWID should include a notice of a rate change with customer statements sent out one month prior to the effective date of the rate change.
Finally, all parties should clearly understand what the effective date means. This year many were surprised when a rate change voted “effective January 1, 2011” appeared on December, 2010 PSWID statements.
While PSWID improves communication, all PSWID residents and property owners need to read notices that are included with statements. They also should try to become more involved by (1) attending PSWID board meetings; (2) following PSWID activities on the Web site pswid.org; (3) running for a PSWID board position; and (4) voting in PSWID elections. Remember that part-time residents as well as full-time residents are eligible for PSWID board positions and that you do not have to be registered to vote in Pine/Strawberry in order to vote in a PSWID election. You simply need to be registered to vote somewhere in Arizona and own property in PSWID.
PSWID information can also be found at waterforpinestrawberry.com. This Web site is maintained by a citizens group.
Whatever your opinion about these issues, common sense tells us that working together is the best way to solve the problems inherited when we purchased the Pine Water Co. and the Strawberry Water Co. It is hoped that everyone in the Pine/Strawberry community agrees that no one in this discussion should be told “shut up” or “now go home.”
Bernice E. Winandy