Citizens seek assistance for west side water woes

Terry Smith
Terry Smith

CAVE CREEK – Mayor Ernie Bunch issued a proclamation at the beginning of Monday night’s council meeting proclaiming Oct. 23-31, 2017 as Red Ribbon Week and encouraged citizens to participate in drug prevention education activities all year long to make a visible statement that the town is committed to being drug free.

During Call to the Public, George Everland, a New River resident and member of the New River/Desert Hills Community Association, explained a recent water dilemma relating to the many people living just to the west of town who don’t have access to water and the five companies that haul water for those residents.

He said as of Dec. 31, the city of Phoenix will be terminating water haulers’ access to convenient hydrant locations.

Everland said it seems almost impossible to come up with a solution by that time.

Although water haulers have looked at alternatives with Peoria and Scottsdale, Everland pointed out the cost of transporting water is currently about double the cost of the water itself and would become unaffordable for many residents.

He said the current average monthly cost of water hauled from a convenient location is around $200.

George Everland
George Everland

Any sort of permanent solutions would require going through numerous steps, which Everland said could not be completed within the time frame given.

He said the residents are requesting a temporary solution from Cave Creek to provide water until a permanent solution can be established.

By temporary, Everland said they were looking at five years.

He said it would be beneficial to all, since this would also provide a source of revenue for the town.

Cave Creek resident Denise Holder said she wasn’t going to reiterate what Everland said since he explained everything very well.

Holder, who resides on north 26th Street on the west side of town, said residents have been promised access to water for the past several years.

Terry Smith said he was there to give notice to the town regarding a road soon to be constructed on the west side on section corner which he said will cut off access to the driveways of several properties and, in essence, land lock them.

Smith called the town negligent and stated for 10 years, through the former mayor and various councils, west side residents have been told they would have access to water.

In light of Phoenix’s cutoff date for obtaining conveniently located water, Smith said his water, which currently costs him about $400 per month, will likely go to $1,500.

IT Coordinator Brian Poore provided council with a summary of the town’s technology upgrades that have been completed and those still underway.

Brian Poore
Brian Poore

Some of the upgrades were evident in the council chambers with a pair of 70-inch TV monitors for higher definition presentations.

Other upgrades include new security cameras and a server upgrade to enable enhanced search and archiving capabilities for email as well as expanded storage.

Councilwoman Eileen Wright asked why they were upgrading the security cameras.

Building Official Mike Baxley, sitting in for Town Manager Carrie Dyrek, said some of the cameras were no longer working, the new cameras are a higher resolution and the cameras needed to be upgraded.

Wright asked how much it cost.

Baxley said it was around $2,000.

Wright asked if that was per camera.

Baxley said that was the cost for the whole system.

Baxley went on to announce Wild West Days will be Nov. 3-5 with the parade on Nov. 4.

He said the town hired two new water treatment operators that started that day.

Baxley also announced the town hired a new maintenance mechanic who started last week.

He said the new hires bring staffing levels up to what they should be and will eliminate the need for so much overtime.

Town Marshal Adam Stein said the 13th annual Cactus Shadows High School Homecoming Parade last weekend had a great turnout and announced the Taste of Cave Creek event will be 5-7 p.m. on Oct. 18 and 19.

Stein told council about a couple of new features for this year’s event with chefs demonstrating why they pair certain foods with specific craft beers and wines.

Stein also said there was a small brush fire over the weekend off Carefree Highway that was brought under control rapidly.

Baxley provided an update regarding insurance liability limits for the rodeo grounds and town right-of-way, stating the town has been operating on the same liability limits since 2000.

He said the risk pool suggested the town go to a sliding scale, which Baxley said excludes rodeos and liquor.

Baxley said neither were a problem since the town doesn’t put on the rodeo and it uses nonprofit organizations for liquor at town events.

Council voted unanimously to approve the policy presented setting insurance liability limits.

Council also voted unanimously to provide the Cave Creek Merchants and Events Association $10,000 requested by Marc Peagler to be used towards the expenses related to Wild West Days.