‘Regularizing’ the town’s status as water provider

By Linda Bentley | September 17, 2008

One-sentence synopsis of a 100-page federal contract
CAVE CREEK – The first general agenda item for Monday night’s council meeting was the adoption of a resolution to execute the assignment of rights and assumption of obligations of Central Arizona Project (CAP) municipal and industrial water service contract.

MarvinCohenAttorney Marvin Cohen explained the 100-page federal contract council was being asked to execute and said when the town took over the water company it acquired CAP allocations as part of the agreement.

However, all of the changes, including the transfer from Cave Creek Water Company and the additional 806-acre feet of water, were incorporated into a new subcontract between Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD) and the town, which now need to be validated by a federal judge.

When the original subcontracts were drawn in 1982, Cohen pointed out it was before the CAP was completed and were good for 50 years. One of the changes made under a water settlement act extended that to 100 years.

Responding to Councilwoman Grace Meeth’s question, Cohen said the town did not need to do an environmental assessment.

He also clarified for Meeth that the town may provide CAP water to anyone in its service area, including the service area that was formerly the Desert Hills Water Company.

According to Cohen, the contract is lengthy because it also includes everything, such as anti-discrimination clauses, required by the federal government to be included in all of its contracts.

According to Cohen, when the town took over the water system, CAWCD agreed to continue providing water under Cave Creek Water Company’s existing contract.

The purpose of the judicial approval, said Cohen, is it “regularizes” the town’s status as the actual subcontractor.

ErnieBunchCouncilman Ernie Bunch said, “I read some of the contract but I like to keep things simple,” and, to clarify, asked, “All we’re doing is changing title to the rights to this water into our name?”

“Correct,” replied Cohen.

Councilwoman Kim Brennan asked Cohen if he had read the entire contract.

“I have, several times,” said Cohen, “but not recently,” adding, “I don’t know of any subcontractors that have had any problems in the 20 years I have worked with these contracts.”

Vice Mayor Gilbert Lopez stated, “I’m not in disagreement with what you’re saying but there will need to be a new map.”

Cohen acknowledged a new map that included the town’s entire service area would be a good idea since the existing map is from 1982.

However, Cohen said the items called for in the contract were executed before the canal was completed and it was not necessary for the customer to update the contract.

He said CAWDC has not been requiring anyone to do that.

Lopez stated he just wanted to be on the record that the town may be required to do some things that it hasn’t budgeted or planned for, such as a costly environmental study.

Ralph Mozilo, during public comment, said, “As chair of the Water Advisory Committee, we voted unanimously to recommend signing,” although he stated it took the committee approximately 45 minutes to reduce it to the same conclusion as Bunch.

Bunch’s motion to approve the resolution carried unanimously, with Mayor Vincent Francia saying he wished all contracts could be as concise as Bunch.

Top photo: Marvin Cohen
Lower photo: Ernie Bunch
Photos by Linda Bentley