Commentary: Purchase of water company should be highest priority in Camp Verde
I am cautiously optimistic that negotiations for the Camp Verde Water Company purchase has again returned for consideration. Acquiring the Water Company was one of my priorities for the following reasons:
• Due to our demographics, expansion of the water system across the Verde River and other areas is not of great interest for a profit-making company. The low-density housing makes a return on investment for such expansion untenable. Future development in areas not serviced by a water company prevents investors building, due to the increased cost of fire prevention mandated by the state. The town could slowly make those expansions, which could induce investors to pay for some expansion with a payback schedule for future hook-ups. These types of arrangements are common and the town has already used such vehicles for sewer lines.
• Water rights and being able to acquire new rights become much easier with the town owning a water company. There are other issues pertaining to this subject that I will not take the space to itemize. Although this issue may not seem important now, the future subject of water certainty for any expansion of our community needs to be safeguarded now.
I am not suggesting that the Town pay $10 for a $2 product. We trust the council to be responsible fiduciaries of our tax dollars. But we also expect them to have the foresight for responsible planning.
If the water company is purchased by another private firm, they have the same goals as any other business, to make money. There is nothing wrong with that, but the overall community does not benefit. Towns and cities exist to give people the services that are impractical for the private sector to provide. And, if purchased by another company, when will the next opportunity arise and what then will it cost.
Other capital improvement projects should not hold a higher priority as none have this potential.
A Camp Verde resident, Bradford Gordon served on the Camp Verde Town Council from June 2013 until November 2018.