The Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District has gotten approval from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to develop and complete construction of the Milk Ranch Well and has also won refinancing of a $6.2 million well.
Board chairman Gary Lovetro confirmed the good news at the May 19 PSWID board meeting.
With the ADEQ approval, the district could start feeding water from the well into the system within months.
Although completion of the well has been slowed by numerous problems, Tucson geologist Chuck Dickens says the well can be pumped at a maximum rate of about 85 gpm and will ultimately add 130,000 gallons of water per day to the PSWID system.
Also at the last week’s meeting, the board awarded a roughly $65,000 contract to Aero Drilling of Payson to begin drilling at the Milk Ranch 2 site.
The well is located about 700 feet from the Milk Ranch 1 well and was discovered last fall while the district was developing the original site.
The loan commitment of $7.414 million the board received from Compass Bank will be used to pay off the original $6.2 loan used primarily to purchase both the Pine and Strawberry water systems from previous owner Brooke Utilities.
The new amount is about $1 million for capital improvements including installing generators at all well sites so that residents will continue to have water during power outages.
Some of the money is also designated to move water lines in the Pine Creek Trail road improvement project and for equipment repairs.
Lovetro said the interest rate on the new loan is about 4.5 percent “and some change.”
He estimates the loan will save water users about $37,000 over what would have been charged had the district floated a bond issue to pay the original loan which was to come due in about 18 months.
“We wanted to get this new loan while interest rates are still low,” he said.
The board also has agreed to begin publishing the 2011-2012 proposed budget that will be heard at a June 23 meeting to begin at 6 p.m.
Residents may review the budget online at http://pswid.org/ and submit and questions in writing.