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Wed, May 22

Community View | Taking back Golden Valley Improvement District control from Mohave County government isn’t the answer

There’s been an onslaught of comments and innuendos from people verbally, in the newspapers, and on social media outlets about the Golden Valley Improvement District (GVID).

Some have attacked the decisions of Mohave County government about how GVID is run and the impending proposed rate hikes.

A select few have even publicly said they believe Mohave County government is more corrupt than organized-crime families back East.

The biggest problem, as I perceive it, there’s a select few who are the catalyst behind the uproar, and they could be deemed “silver tongued devils.” They have a way about themselves that they can take information that isn’t current or correct and convince others it’s gospel. If they are not embroiled in controversy, they are not happy.

A small group of citizens began a petition-signature drive to take back control of GVID.

I honestly don’t believe they comprehend the scope and complexity of what is needed for a successful petition drive and for it to be completed within 90 days. Granted, they are mounting a “walking tour” of GVID hoping to garner enough valid signatures, and if it isn’t successful at the end of 90 days the Board of Supervisors will vote on a rate hike.

The problem is there are 5,721 parcels of land inside GVID boundaries and many of the owners are “absentee owners.” This means an envelope containing the petition would have to be mailed to owners not residing inside GVID and a self-addressed-stamped envelope would have to be provided for the return of the signed petitions. Even if only half of the property owners reside elsewhere, it would cost about $1,400 for postage and that doesn’t take into consideration the cost of the envelope and printing of the petition. I ask who is going to pay for the petition-signature drive? GVID and the county are not going to pay for it.

Because of the Mafioso perception by a select few naysayers, you would think Mohave County and GVID are being run by notorious mobsters named Al “Scarface” Capone, John “Teflon Don” Gotti, Carlo “Don Carlo” Gambino and Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano.

If you believe this, I can fit you for a set of concrete shoes, and the current Mohave County Board of Supervisors includes Mafiosi District 1, Gary “The Horseshoe” Watson (he has horses), District 2, Hildy “The Trout” Angius (an advocate for the angler), District 3, Buster “Many Boards” Johnson (serves on numerous boards as a representative of the county), District 4, Jean “Boots” Bishop (she wears a lot of boots), and District 5 Lois “The Melon” Wakimoto (her family works in the farming industry).

I have to admit, past operations of GVID could possibly have been handled a little differently. I, like most other customers of GVID, wasn’t too happy when we learned of the impending rate hike for water. However, I realize many of the customers have been riding the “low-cost water carpet ride,” especially those who utilize the stand pipe facilities. Hey, water haulers, $3.70 per 1,000 gallons is a deal made in Heaven. What is even more convoluted are the fees charged for people who are metered on the pipeline.

The current proposed water rate hike in front of the BOS is: standpipe per 1,000 gallons – in district $5.36 and out of district $8.85; metered customers $15 minimum charge or fixed rate to 2,000 gallons and $5.90 per 1,000 for above 2,000. If people actually take a hard look at the proposed rate hike, many of the bills for customers will go down. And there’s the alternative tax levy proposed for GVID of $0.75 per $100 net assessed value of all property within GVID.

I, for one, believe there should have been a rate-hike structure or schedule put into place many years ago that included a portion of the revenue generated from water sales placed into an account for future expansion of the water system infrastructure.

And if you believe everything that is being said, “The sky is falling,” the underground water basin called the Sacramento Aquifer will soon be drying up and Golden Valley will fall into the giant sink hole that was once the fifth largest aquifer in the continental U.S.

The most equitable solution for GVID is to have the current BOS start a GVID Commission that would have five to 10 members serving on it. Everyone who resides within the boundaries of GVID and wants to serve on the commission can submit a resume for consideration. Then the supervisors could each appoint one or two people to sit on the commission and let those members make recommendations to the BOS as to how specific operations and major decisions are made.

Taking back the GVID control isn’t the answer. The “powers to be” behind the signature-petition drive aren’t telling the entire story and are being nebulous with GVID customers. They haven’t: presented an operational plan; named who they would hire as a manager, engineer, accountant and fieldd workers; how they would purchase vehicles, equipment for maintaining the water infrastructure, office equipment, and computers and software for maintaining the billing system. Besides that, the GVID customers who have financed the engineer feasibility study for a ten-year period through the county might have to pay back their loan immediately if the GVID control changes. The problem is the naysayers aren’t happy and are proceeding halfcocked.

The most viable solution is to maintain status quo, but with a couple of caveats – pass the alternative tax levy proposed for GVID of $0.75 per $100 net assessed value of all property within GVID, start the GVID Commission, and take a certain percentage of revenues generated through water sales and place them in reserve for future expansion of the water system infrastructure.

More customers hooked up to the system means more revenue for GVID.

In closing, if the GVID control is turned over to the citizens and for whatever reason the district fails, the county does not have a legal obligation to take it back over.

That would leave residents high and dry without water.


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