Apr 12, 2001

Private Water Company Accused of Using Scare Tactics to Fight Move

Summit County leaders are accusing managers of a private water company of using fright tactics, reported The Salt Lake Tribune. The private company was targeted for takeover last week by the Summit County Commission and is accused of fighting the move with such tactics as Van Martin, Simmit Water's general manager, being quoted as saying "business and numerous suburbs will pay through the nose" if the county's condemnation succeeds.

"They're trying to scare people," said County Commissioner Pat Cone, responding to assertions by Summit Water Distribution Co. that the move will mean spectacularly higher rates and less water for hundreds of households in and around Kimball Junction.

Martin cited an example of the Silver Springs area after its small water company was transferred into county control. In some cases, bills doubled after the county placed higher rates on consumption over a predetermined volume.

The condemnation proceeding is the latest hurdle for the county to turn the Snyderville Basin's fragmented water-management system into a unified district. The population of the area has more than doubled to about 17,000 since 1990.

Cone maintained the county probably will "keep rates about the same, although we also are going to strongly urge more conservation."

The county has contemplated construction of a multimillion-dollar pipeline to bring more water from the Weber River drainage, via Rockport Reservoir. The county's takeover of Summit Water Distribution Company probably would kill a competing idea to pipe water in via East Canyon Creek.

The water company probably will take the matter to court, he added, arguing the county has no business making such a drastic play.