Photo courtesy of Jeff Schwartz
By Jeff Schwartz, 35-year resident of Scottsdale, former member of Scottsdale’s Transportation and Planning committees | Guest Commentary in Your Valley
Not one drop of Scottsdale’s water nor one cent of Scottsdale’s budget is needed to help the residents of Rio Verde Foothills however a solution to provide them water still alludes us.
As a Scottsdale resident, I have been watching this issue closely and need to respond to the recent opinion (March 8) from Solange Whitehead, Scottsdale City Councilwoman, on Maricopa County’s reaction to Scottsdale’s proposal to provide water to Rio Verde Foothills. She shares that she is “deeply disappointed.” So am I.
In her opinion, she says that “City Council directed (staff). . . to develop an intergovernmental agreement with . . . Maricopa County”. While the city and the county had discussions, none of them included negotiations of the terms of the proposal. Scottsdale negotiated with themselves and presented the proposal for the county to accept or reject.
The county initiated conversations with Scottsdale but the city was unwilling to disclose where they were getting the water. Given that Mayor Ortega had cited two sources, who later denied they were a source, the uncertain of the water source was of great concern to the county. As a result of this uncertainty, the county passed a resolution in support of the alternative, short-term EPCOR proposal.
I agree the EPCOR solution has several advantages. The most striking advantage is that EPCOR has an assured water source and the Scottsdale proposal does not. The Scottsdale proposal requires Scottsdale to find additional water and pay for it with taxpayer dollars. If Scottsdale has access to additional water supplies, they should reserve those for our future needs and not supply it to folks outside the city.