By San Tan Times And Karen Christian

A local resident recently submitted a letter to the ACC regarding her thoughts on Queen Creeks proposal to interconnect the utilities to help solve some of the problems in regards to the local utility. This is her letter.

 

Staff and commissioners;

I would like to thank all parties for their diligent work on the most complex of cases. The ratepayer/customers of Johnson Utilities are grateful that after all these years they are being heard. I want to cut to the chase in saying I believe it’s imperative that EXISTING customers be taken care of before anyone else. I recognize fully the financial impact to the developers, including employees of the home builders, contractors, etc. Also, in light of all that’s been revealed from the hearings this past summer to EPCOR’s most current assessment, it remains vital that thing are done right.

With summer only a few months away, and God knows the length of time things take with all the legalese involved, a short term solution that’s been offered through the Town of Queen Creek needs to be considered. I recognize land ownership laws, etc., however, the “land owner” needs to recognize that because of years of neglect, it’s time they and the state agencies that did NOT do their jobs start heeding what’s best for the current ratepayers. I feel that both of those interests can be supported simultaneously utilizing the interconnection method. That’s the beauty of it, in that it not only recognizes the immediate need for current residents as we head into next summer of high water usage, but it likewise prevents a full-on moratorium or complete stoppage of the economic impact that comes with the home builders and developers, and it keeps jobs for the area.

The only LOGICAL solution, and one in which makes the most sense is one not filed by any overpaid attorney on this case, but filed by the customer-intervener John Dantico. Specifically pages 9-11 of his Response. Every bit of his suggested solution makes the most sense, (except taking districts which, at this point, could take too long to implement), and in my opinion, begins to immediately address the problems out here. I know “pro-incorporation” people in San Tan Valley think Queen Creek is out to annex everything and could use this to do so. I don’t believe annexation or incorporation should come into play at this point. Both towns have worked diligently for the good of the region. When San Tan Valley incorporates, they want to have a positive working relationship with surrounding entities. Sharing utility infrastructure is nothing new in big metropolises like our area. This isn’t ‘rocket science’ in my opinion. This prevents a full on economic impact, and people in the building industry keep their jobs, homes continue to sell, and the growth of our area continues. Thus avoiding damage to any community or towns in the region, and avoiding a huge drop in current home values as well.

Time is of the essence. Summer is coming, and before you know it, we will be dealing with low water pressure below 20 psi, and backed up sewers, etc. The upcoming election could create a lack of “fire” from those involved now to keep this thing moving forward. We have waited over 20 years to finally have this resolved and rectified. All the political and legalese set aside, it’s time decisions favor current JU customers, and logical solutions provided be implemented immediately. The homebuilders/developers, if they are allowed to continue with “business as usual” at this stage, and down the road issues like what’s been here for all these years to come up, could very well be facing lawsuits themselves. It is also my hope that the builders will recognize this, otherwise there will be no excuse come next summer if this is not done, and the people again suffer for all the political mud-slinging and legalese that’s going on at their expense! (By the way, I certainly hope every homebuilder has now inserted a “disclaimer” at this point into their sales contracts, making buyers aware of what’s currently going on).

Ironically, I was going to stop with that last paragraph. That is, until this past Tuesday evening when coming home from a work event, driving past JU main yard on Hunt Hwy. I observed the lift station light going off again, and 2 sewer trucks pumping. They pulled out just area of me after I turned around, and, since I now live in Anthem at Merrill Ranch, I actually got behind them. I was hoping, as we all know, the sec. 11 plant capacity is nil, they were hauling to Anthem’s plant. But nope, they turned int Sec. 11. Hauling costs have to be astronomical at this stage, and if that’s their only answer, who ultimately will bear these costs? Again, another logical fix, is to interconnect to Queen Creek. What happens, on that dark, Hunt Hwy, late at night, if one of those trucks were in an accident? Then you’ll have an environmental mess on top of it all! Why take that chance? It crosses a railroad also. I may be suggesting worse-case-scenerios, but when the answer is staring everyone in the face, it’s hard to swallow what in the heck people are so afraid of? Let’s just get to work and stop the political and legalese games.

Once again, I believe the obligation to resolve this lies in the priorities of existing ratepayers, then developers. The interconnection that’s been presented with the town of Queen Creek resolves both issues at the same time. Giving not only a short-term capability, but also a long term relationship with the region overall.

Thanking again everyone on staff for their tireless work in this most complex of cases.

Karen Christian

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