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Front Page » June 19, 2008 » Carbon County News » PRWID continues to delay decision on water company
Published 2,376 days ago

PRWID continues to delay decision on water company


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By CLAUDETTE LANGLEY
Sun Advocate reporter

The item that seems to have become a permanent fixture on the Price River Water Improvement District board meeting agenda was back on Tuesday’s agenda and will be pop up once more July 15.

Members of the Pinnacle John Paul Water Company filled the chairs in the PRWID board room and participated in a lively discussion of the new agreement that could eventually govern a takeover by the district of the private company.

During the past three months, the finite details of the agreement have been hammered out by board members, legal counsel and residents served by Pinnacle.

Despite the scrutiny and reworking the deal was not quite ready to be struck.

"Legally, I don’t think the district would have the right to restrict personal property development," said PRWID manager Jeffrey Richens said.

One of the main sticking points has been the desire of the residents in the subdivision bounded by 500 West and 1625 South to keep the number of houses static at 25.

The original plan allowed for an additional nine homes, but that was given up as part of ongoing negotiation with PRWID.

However, despite the residents’ agreement to eliminate the additional nine hookups, Richens said at the June 17 meeting he wasn’t sure if the district took over the water company that PRWID would be able to honor the agreement.

He said PRWID would only be able to look at whether the system could provide adequate water to a new development and if it could it wouldn’t be likely the district could refuse the request.

Boardmembers agreed that it could be problematic to include the restriction in the agreement.

"This is not something I would want in a legal document," said Boardmember Karl Houskeeper said.

Boardmember Richard Tatton commented that, in some cases, the district could determine the overall impact on the water delivery system and make a negative recommendation.

"The district is required to say if there is adequate water and if not then stop the mechanics of the plan," said Tatton.

Richens had a caveat.

"If the fire hydrant meets the fire flow, then we pass them," said the district manager.

Pinnacle’s members looked a bit dismayed by Richens’ comments.

"You want to take away those nine connections we had, but you’re saying you would have allowed development anyway," said Cathy Shiner.

The negotiations began in March and meeting after meeting questions have been answered and further details worked out.

All the hydrants had been tested for fire flow and all except one passed the minimum requirements, the residents agreed to hold harmless the district from responsibility if the system as is failed during a crisis like a fire and produced the original letter requesting that PRWID absorb Pinnacle.

"Are you saying that if the district decides to improve the system that the people now connected to it will have to pay for it?" asked Don Polster.. "We can’t go for that."

But he was told that wasn’t what the board members were trying to say and that he need not worry about being treated unfairly.

"We aren’t going to throw darts at you and do anything to we aren’t doing to others in the county," commented Boardmember Keith Cox. "We want to follow the same procedures with you that we do with the rest of the county."

Although it seemed that there couldn’t possibly be anything left to stand in the way of closing the deal, the PRWID board decided the decision was not to be made at the meeting.

As the discussion about the takeover progressed issues of not stopping development and the possibility of the water improvement district deciding to upgrade the system and charging the residents seemed to cause a bit of a stir among the residents.

At one point, the meeting broke down into two as the board talked among itself and the residents went into a huddle.

Both sides decided that they needed to discuss the agreement a bit more and to come back July 15, possibly for a final decision or not.

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June 19, 2008
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