By Sherry Twamley
(January 1, 2018)
From 2004 to 2010, the City of Cottonwood forced out all of the private water companies — six private water companies in the Verde Valley area — the geographical center of Arizona, clearly in violation of State and Federal AntiTrust laws without prosecution, by condemning and acquiring, without legal authorization, an AntiTrust Tap Water Monopoly in violation of both State and Federal AntiTrust laws, and put more than $72,000,000 of bond debt (principal and interest) and bond covenant reserve requirements on the city water customers’ base charge of their monthly water bills, for 30 years. Then the city began to exploit its 9,000 water users by jacking up the price of drinking water as high as 507 percent in the outside areas.
The law’s treatment of monopolies is potentially the strongest in the field of antitrust law and municipalities are not immune to prosecution. The problem is the AntiTrust case would need to have been filed within four years after the monopoly was formed and it has been more than 7 to 12 years since the city acquired the private water companies and drove them out of the Verde Valley! Had an AntiTrust Monopoly charge been brought against the City of Cottonwood within the four year Statute of Limitations, and if the City lost the case, the municipality would have been subject to paying treble damages.
Under state and Federal laws, municipalities are only given the right to be natural monopolies, which are exclusive providers of a wastewater or water utility — in exchange for keeping the raxpayers’ wastewater and water rates to a MINIMUM, never to make a a profit, and can only acquire the bare minimum amount of water companies required to serve the city’s residents within its sovereign boundaries, Instead, the city went outside its sovereign boundaries into Yavapai County and grabbed existing private water companies in a power grab to drive out all of the private water companies by condemnation, and in turn, put the private water companies out of business to transfer ownership of the private water companies to the City of Cottonwood. Then the City commenced to discriminately charge outside ratepayers higher water rates without justification unlawfully, and added alleged fraudulent surcharges and surcharge taxes to the ratepayers’ water bills.
When the City condemned the outside water companies — Cordes Lakes in Verde Village and Verde Santa Fe, City officials stripped outside residents of important regulatory rate protections they had previously under the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), and representation, leaving outside ratepayers with a classic case of ‘taxation without representation’.
This is CLEARLY a case that should be prosecuted by the Arizona Attorney General, Mark Brnovich, the Supreme Court or the FBI. The 9,000 Cottonwood Municipal Water Utility ratepayers are innocent victims to these alleged crimes, not the perpetrators, and the City officials who perpetuated these crimes should be prosecuted by the full means of the law.
It is imperative for Cottonwood residents to realize they MUST ELECT NEW CITY OFFICIALS IN THE 2018 ELECTIONS that are NOT RELATED to any city official to prevent further damages to the taxpayers and ratepayers. Outside residents are unable to vote in city elections.
Editor and Publisher
Verde Village News —
Outstanding summation of the situation that has raped we water users outside of Cottonwood city. Thank you for posting the whole truth.
Hopefully 2018 will see council members elected that have better ethics and morals when it comes to setting rates and spending tax dollars!
Thank you for the Clairification.
It would seem to me that I would want to be at arms length away from those in office who voted YES on this takeover.
At the time till now, I was in favor for the consolidation for what was said to be poor equipment,bad water,uneven service,etc.,which now shows a different ‘COAT’.
Thanks again for the record.