Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Premature Pine-Strawberry water rate increase?

(The following from the gentleperson the Roundup doesn't want identified in this blog or his letters will not be published in that newspaper wants to inform his Pine and Strawberry neighbors of the following situation regarding a water rate increase that was supposed to take effect Jan. 1.)

Hello Neighbor,

One of the gifts that many of us received before Christmas from the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District (PSWID) was a water bill with the new rates that are effective January 1st (at least that was what the board said when they approved them in July) applied. In my case, the bill was for service from November 3rd to December 7th. The bill was generated on December 10th.

There is also a helpful note on the bill: “NEW RATE INCREASE EFFECTIVE 1/1/2011”.

How can service that was delivered in November and billed in December have the new rates that start in January applied to them? I went to the PSWID office to find out and was told that the due date of the bill, which on my bill is January 3rd, is being used to trigger the application of the new rates. My understanding is that Mr. Gary Lovetro instructed the PSWID staff to use that date.

When I asked about it at the board meeting, Mr. Dickinson responded that if they hadn’t used the due date, they wouldn’t have seen any new revenue until March. This is nonsensical since the next bill would have had service in January and the payment for that service would be arriving in January.

For the rate increase in August, that brought Strawberry rates into line with Pine’s, the due date was NOT used as a trigger for the application of those rates. I have been told by someone who should know that it is unheard of in the industry to use the due date as a rate trigger.

This is just a cheap trick to accelerate the rate increase by a month. How exactly is this better treatment of customers than Brooke would have provided?

You can file a consumer complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s office at:

My complaint reads:

In July, the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District (PSWID) board voted for a water rate increase effective January 1, 2011. These rates were published and agreed to at a public rate hearing.

In my most recent water bill, which covered service from 11/3/2010 to 12/7/2010 and was generated on 12/10/2010, the new rates were applied.

I asked the staff at the PSWID office why the new rates were applied and they said that PSWID board member Mr. Gary Lovetro had instructed them to use the due date of the bill as the trigger for the application of the rate increase. The due date on my bill is 1/3/2011.

This is a misrepresentation of when the rates would be applied. The entire transaction, from service provision to bill generation to my payment of the bill occurred before January 1st.

In addition, there was a rate increase that was also approved at the July rate hearing that was effective on August 1st. The application of that rate increase was NOT triggered by the bill’s due date.

You can let the board members know your thoughts about this:

Mr. Gary Lovetro:
Mr. Tom Weeks:
Mr. Mike Greer:
Mr. Ron Calderon:
Mr. Don Smith:
Mr. Mike Claxton:
Mr. Richard Dickinson:

One thing to remember is that the staff in the PSWID office is only doing what the board is directing them to do, so be easy on them if you go in to the PSWID office to register your complaint.

This update is from the group Water For Pine Strawberry. We will issue an update after each of the PSWID meetings with a summary of what the board did, additional facts that are relevant to what went on, and some commentary.  Updates on earlier meetings are available on our website: .
Water For Pine Strawberry is a group of residents who are concerned about the community’s water issues and how they can best be resolved. Visit our web site,, for more information. The website for PSWID is .
Clarifications can be submitted by anyone who is explicitly named, implicitly identifiable, or a board member to items in this update. Clarifications will be posted on our website. We reserve the right to post a response. Clarifications must deal with the topics discussed in the update that relate to the individual or the board. They must be in family friendly language and be non-abusive. When the clarification is accepted, it will be posted to the website and notice of that posting will be added to the next update.

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