Guest column: CVWS would like to set the record straight

Justin Bullard, Camp Verde Water System, Inc.

Justin Bullard, Camp Verde Water System, Inc.

I am writing on behalf of Camp Verde Water System, Inc. (CVWS) regarding the recent article that was posted in the Bugle dated 3/26/2016. The article title is "Deadline looms, water contract stalls". I am writing this letter to inform you that this article is misleading.

The part of the article that concerns CVWS the most is the section that states "There's been some health department issues and trying to get utility issues resolved, said Russ Martin."

(Editor's note: Russ Martin said "health issues," not "health department issues." A correction of this unintended typo by Managing Editor Tom Tracey was corrected online and in this print edition).

CVWS is in compliance with every state and federal regulatory agency, we have always served the community with safe drinking and continue to look out for the best interest of our customers.

There were some statements in this article given by the Mayor and council members that are incorrect, and CVWS would like to set the record straight with the actual facts.

Council member Bradford Gordon stated in the article "We've been waiting two years and are tired of getting the runaround". The truth of the matter is that CVWS sent a letter to the Mayor and council members dated February 14, 2013 requesting an extension of the franchise agreement until the next election. Due to the change in law the next election was supposed to be scheduled for August 2014, but there was never an election. The Mayor and council members were informed in the letter that the franchise agreement would expire on August 24th 2013 and that if the agreement expires CVWS would no longer pay 2% of its sales to the Town of Camp Verde.

On May 7th, 2014 a letter along with a copy of the new franchise agreement drafted by CVWS attorney was hand delivered to the Town Manager, Russ Martin. In this Letter CVWS stated that on April 17, 2013, the Town of Camp Verde and Common Council approved Resolution 2013-891 to place Camp Verde Water System, Inc.'s franchise on the ballot for a vote by Town citizens served by Camp Verde Water System, Inc. The letter also stated that CVWS would appreciate if the Town would contact us when the Town determines the date of the next regularly scheduled Town election whereby the franchise will be considered.

When the special election came up CVWS and the Town were trying to get the franchise agreement on the ballot and split the cost of the special election. Due to the fact that the franchise agreement language could not be agreed upon by CVWS and the Town's attorney, who made changes to the original franchise agreement drafted by CVWS attorney, we were not able to get the franchise agreement on the ballot for the special election. We are currently trying to draft a franchise agreement that has language both the Town and CVWS can agree upon. We are hoping that this will make it on the ballot for the August election.

There are other sections in the article that state things like "voters can determine if the town's water lines are best serviced by the Camp Verde Water System", "it could be more costly to take-on a different company at this time", and "we can't continue to operate without a franchise agreement. Two years is being a pretty good neighbor".

(Editor's note: Videotapes of council meetings are posted online by the Town of Camp Verde under "Agendas and Minutes.")

The fact of the matter is Camp Verde Water System, Inc. is a privately owned corporation, all of the water lines and appurtenances are assets owned by CVWS. The franchise agreement has no effect on the services we provide to our customers in our service area. We are regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission and are required to serve any one who request service in our CC&N (Certificate of Convenience & Necessity). With or without a Franchise agreement Camp Verde Water System will continue to operate under the rules and regulations of the Arizona Corporation Commission serving the residence and businesses in Camp Verde.

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