Angry That Pswid Chairman Singled Out One Person

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Editor:

This is in regard to Ray Pugel’s Guest Comment titled: “Pine/Strawberry water problems must be addressed.” I found your letter informative and at the same time disrespectful. You couldn’t just address concerns the community has about the rate increase, you had to call out Sue Green when she was merely voicing what many of us in Pine/Strawberry talk about when we run into each other at the store or meet at the post office while getting our mail. And, just because she doesn’t attend any of your “do nothing” board meetings doesn’t mean she isn’t entitled to her opinion. And, are you the head teacher who takes attendance at every board meeting?

I would think as the chairman of PSWID, you would conduct yourself in a more professional manner, rather than berating someone for speaking her mind. I don’t attend your meetings, but I read about them in the paper and talk about them with my neighbors. From what I heard about your last meeting, you and the others on the board, except for Sam Schwalm, pretty much ignored what the community was saying. It’s your high and mighty attitude that irks most people. And, the fact that you sold PSWID a well, then became chairman because Mr. Lovetro couldn’t conduct a meeting without coming unglued, seems, well, a little hinkey to most of us.

I don’t think anyone disagrees with the fact that improvements need to be made, but I thought you were making improvements; instead, wells were being bought for $570,000 (is that correct, Mr. Chairman?) and another for $450,000. That’s a lot of money! I know that those wells produce water and all that, but if we needed improvements, why wasn’t part of this money earmarked for that?

So, here we are ... we have water, but the leaks are eating us alive, as it were, and so, you do what most people do who are over extended ... you go back to the well (pun intended!) Your article would have won me over, but when you went after Sue Green, you ticked me off. That was cowardice and very unbecoming to the chairman of a board, who did not set aside “charged emotions” and went after the one of the very people you were appointed to serve. Shame on you, Mr. Pugel!

Jeannette Sindik

Comments

Ronald Hamric 1 year, 5 months ago

One of the reasons for the animus towards the board of the PSWID is contained in this very letter. We are never going to get past the personal mud-slinging and therefore probably never going to actually get down to resolving the issues with the water system. I suppose in the letter writers view, it is permissible to personally belittle each and every person who has volunteered their time and energy to serve on the board, but those individuals have no right to respond to that personal criticism. Serving in any public capacity does not cancel a persons right to retort directly to another person's criticism.

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Deb Schwalm 1 year, 5 months ago

No personal mud-slinging, just facts provided for public awareness. Just because one volunteers doesn't mean they can be irresponsible or self-serving. The public needs to be informed.

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Ronald Hamric 1 year, 5 months ago

Ms. Schwalm, I agree with your premise, but are you actually taking a position that there has been no personal "mud slinging" from both sides? Really? How then are the very personal attacks impugning Ray Pugel's motive's and integrity being sent via letters to the editor in this very paper, anything other than that? Is it not fair to criticize the entire board, of which your husband is a member, as opposed to singling out individuals for lack of transparency and openness?

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Deb Schwalm 1 year, 5 months ago

Every time I refer to the board it is to reflect their collective decisions. Public criticism is part of politics because politicians are supposed to represent the people. There are comments from many local people. The public has seen that the other members of the board don't even listen to Sam Schwalm and attack him for making suggestions. He can speak for himself as I will speak for myself. Ray Pugel was very much involved in all the water issues prior to being placed on the board. Ray has a conflict of interest being a realtor developer in Pine.

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Pam Mason 1 year, 5 months ago

There are some problem areas with the Guest View presented by Mr. Ray Pugel and to me it seems that the PSWID Board just can’t seem to get their story straight.

We should not be taxed twice for the Pine Creek Canyon Road Project. Tax payers within the PSWID District paid a special property tax in FY 2011-12 specifically identified for that road project. Mr. Pugel said it depleted the contingency fund when in fact money was put in place ahead of time.

The “mechanical failures” of the system that happened last summer, were part of a brand new installation for the Milk Ranch Well and Strawberry Hollow Wells that PSWID purchased. We were told that there was no fail safe device installed. As this was a new addition and nothing to do with the “old system” should we not have some financial redress with presumably the professionals who prepared the design and carried out the installation in the first place?

Actually there was no water hauling for the last two years of BUI, but because of the mechanical failure last summer PSWID stated that “the cost to address the water supply interruption was estimated at $171,000 and $22,000 for hauling water. The District will absorb the costs through a contingency reserve fund. There are no plans for rate hearings or rate increases scheduled, and PSWID water customers will not be charged for water hauling or see water hauling charges reflected in their monthly water bills.” Obviously we knew that rate increases were inevitable it is the size of the increases that prove to be so alarming.

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Pam Mason 1 year, 5 months ago

No one said that the two water tanks identified with problems should not be repaired. The water revenue loss was attributed first to older water meters maybe not registering water usage accurately and secondly to water leaks. A meter replacement program is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. There are certain areas in Strawberry already identified by CH2M Hill as being prone to water leaks. I amongst others requested that the tanks and known water leaks be addressed first, and the rest of the system taken care of in a careful measured manner over time. The public don’t want a $7 Million bond to add to the $7.4 Million we already owe. No one from the public suggested replacing the 30 plus miles of water system and only one person at another meeting suggested fire hydrants.

The call for a Master Plan was requested by former Chairman Bill Haney and then later by Sam Schwalm, the idea of which was rejected by a board member. No one asked for the Master Plan to be deleted from this Budget. It is hoped that the Plan will be prepared and presented without undue pressure and influence from some board members who are insistent on replacing the entire system now.

In July 2012 the need for an additional water tank was approved (of which I have no issue) however, it should be noted that the PSWID minutes say “Ralph entertained questions from Board Members, and a discussion of the Board followed. It was determined the District could afford to fund the project even in light of expenses associated with the recent water service disruption. Sam Schwalm asked what budget line would this money come out of? Gary Lovetro responded that the Board has $264,000 in reserve as contingency for this and next fiscal year budget.

With respect to the large increases in Property Taxes, Water Rates and the proposed $7 Million bond can you blame us for asking why last year the Board painted such a rosy picture? Now our woes are being blamed on a road already paid for and a mechanical failure that could have been avoided. Note I have not even gone into the money spent and problems encountered with the Milk Ranch and Strawberry Hollow Wells.

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Bernice Winandy 1 year, 5 months ago

Good points, Pam! You failed to mention the frustration PSWID BOARD MEMBERS ARE CAUSING by ignoring the concerns of the public they are supposed to be serving.

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Jeannette Sindik 1 year, 4 months ago

Mr. Hamric, I take exception to your comments about the letter I wrote to the Payson Roundup. The only reason I wrote the letter was because Mr. Pugel "called out" Sue Green for voice her opinion. And, isn't it WONDERFUL that Mr. Pugel got to write a Guest Column to do it, while us peons have to write our little letters to the Editor. If you consider me calling the board a "do nothing board" as mudslinging, then you do not know the true meaning of the word "mudslinging". Mudslinging means to attempt to discredit one's competitor, opponent, etc. by malicious and scandalous attacks. There was nothing malicious (do I need to give you the definition of that, too!) about my comment, I was merely stating my opinion and a well known fact. The fact that these board members volunteer their time has NOTHING to do with anything. They CHOSE to do this job and when they, or anyone else in the public eye is not doing their job to the best of their ability, then they deserve to be called out. Ray Pugel has no business being on this board because of the conflict of interests. He had no problem selling us a well for much more money than it was worth and he knew it.
My advice to you, Mr. Hamric, is to collect your thoughts and out them out there in the public like the rest of us instead of skulking around the back pages of The Roundup, going after women. You're messing with the wrong group and you are WAY out of your league!

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