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PRWID absorbs John Paul Water Company

Water for all of the district is treated here on U.S. 6 in Price Canyon.

Sun Advocate reporter

The takeover of the John Paul company was finally resolved at last week's regularly scheduled Price River Water Improvement District board meeting after five months of negotiations.

Members of the Pinnacle John Paul Water Company filled the chairs in the PRWID board room, apparently frustrated with all of the red tape, but relieved that the matter was nearing resolution.

The board discussed 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 boardmembers, legal counsel and residents served by Pinnacle. Despite the scrutiny and reworking of the deal, it 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.

According to Richens 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.

PRWID representatives found that they would indeed be able to provide the aqua.

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 Housekeeper 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."

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 failed as is during a crisis like a fire and produced the original letter requesting that PRWID absorb Pinnacle.

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.

The south Price subdivision served by the company has had an agreement in place that would allow some of the property owners to subdivide their parcels thereby increasing the number of hookups from 25 to 34.

"What if we get rid of the extra nine connections and put in another fire hydrant," Rick Shiner, a representative from Pinnacle asked.

That suggestion seemed to go over quite well with the board. However, it wasn't the clincher for the deal.

The water company members were asked to see if they could come up with any historical records or documents that might show that when the system was installed in 1978 that it met the district's requirements. Also it was requested that all residents served by the company sign a "Hold Harmless" agreement that exempts the district from any liability for glitches or failures in the system.

In the past months they have provided the original letter requesting PRWID to take over the company, had fire flow tests done on all the hydrants, and submitted those results to Price Fire Chief Paul Bedont for review.

"We kept going to ensure no more growth," Shiner said."But so many regulations have changed for testing the water we can't keep up with them."

"I've been reading meters for 20 years now and it's time to get rid of it," he said.

On Aug. 5, the district finally made the vote and decided to absorb the company and giving closure to the exhausting negotiation.

"I'm just glad that its over," said Shiner. "I was starting to think that it would never end."

The board meets the first and third Tuesday of the month in the district headquarters at 265 South Fairgrounds Road at 7 p.m.

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