As a resident of Job’s Peak Ranch, a development which has, like Sheridan Acres, been debilitated by the County’s past and continued mismanagement of water, I heartily endorse the sentiments of the 72 Sheridan Acres residents who signed the letter to the Douglas County Commissioners. I am crossing my fingers that the “numbers” mentioned in the letter prove correct. Having witnessed the last go-round in which a consolidation of the many Valley water systems was considered (and rejected), however, I have strong doubts. I fear a proposed consolidation will, inevitably and inescapably, mean a hike in the monthly water rates for East Valley customers.
When the projections are in showing the ($10 to $20) hike for East Valley, the loud and vociferous objections of certain East Valley residents will indubitably resound throughout the county commissioners’ meeting. “It’s not fair that we have to subsidize the users in Sheridan Acres or Job’s Peak,” they’ll cry out in a chorus of such numbers that the noise will muffle the actual evenhanded rationale behind why consolidation is the only honorable way out of this untenable situation.
So how does one determine “fair”? By mob rule according to one commissioner in a recent gathering to discuss the county’s plans for the water systems. Addressing a (small) room crammed full of Sheridan Acres and Job’s Peak residents, the commissioner said, in effect, “You just don’t have the numbers. East Valley has thousands of users.” When attendees brought up “doing the right thing,” the commissioner looked sheepish and reiterated his opinion that it was a matter of political expediency, not justice. That the county made mistakes is a matter of public record. Those mistakes include knowingly choosing to take over a water system in dire need of major repairs. How could saddling the 200 or so innocent victims of the county’s blunders with the immense cost of ensuring usable, decent water to their homes be what’s “fair”? All of the residents of the county are charged with the responsibility for what the county does. We elect commissioners. When those commissioners make bad decisions, is it “fair” that the injured residents pay outrageous sums (estimated to be more than $600 a month for water in my case) and all others get off scot-free? I’ve heard it said, straight out, at commission meetings, that we residents of Jobs Peak are wealthy, so we don’t deserve what is called (wrongly) a “subsidy.” While it may be accurate that some of us have worked hard and provided ourselves with a comfortable life, what kind of “equality under the law” allows resentment or envy to squelch fair dealing? Consolidation into one system represents a reasonable pathway for an injustice to be addressed.
Jobs Peak Ranch and Sheridan Acres deserve to be treated as good neighbors, not punished. I herewith call on the rest of our Valley to demonstrate the integrity integral to the American dream. Support consolidation into one system. It’s only fair.