I thought I would address why I stopped the water district from building the pipeline from Canaan Springs to the Cedar Point water tank. At least that’s what they are passing around.  After reading this, you’ll see that I didn’t stop anything. We’ve all heard about this pipeline for the past year. I had someone approach me about this rumor they heard, so let me talk about it.

The first water board meeting I attended as Mayor, and as a member of the water board, was in October of 2018. I asked in that meeting for details of the pipeline. What are we doing? What are the loan details? How much was our payment going to be? What loan or loans are we refinancing in with the pipeline? What are the terms of the loan? How will this new loan affect our current financial position or in other words, how much if any was our payment going to increase? Who is preparing the financial statements required?

I thought these were reasonable questions that every member of the board should already know or at least want to know. I can honestly say at the time of this recording at the beginning of April of 2019, I still don’t have any of these answers. A couple of months back I pressed Harold Merritt, the water board chairman on this.  He said it was his understanding that we were going to refinance all of the loans that we currently have and include the new pipeline. He said, we’d take about eight million dollars in loans, USDA would forgive about 45% of the total debt and that we’d end up with a single payment on approximately five million dollars.

Then about an hour later, I talked with Dale Harris, our water master to find out what his understanding was. He said what loan? He told me he stood out by SR59 with a group of people, one of which was someone from USDA and he remembers them saying they were going to do a grant for one million dollars so we could put in the pipeline.

Then the same day I was able to reach Rod Mills, the water districts engineer, and asked him about the pipeline financing and he told me they were going to refinance only the Canaan Springs purchase loan plus the pipeline and USDA was going to forgive 45% of the principal, and we’d have a payment on the balance.

This all happened the same day. It was disturbing to me that even the water district doesn’t know what they are doing.

A short time later I’m attending the water convention held in St George. There were several breakout sessions that I wanted to attend, wanting to learn more about municipal water. Attending this conference as vendors, was USDA. I went over and introduced myself and started asking questions. I know, what a novel idea. I wanted to know What does it take to qualify for a grant? What does it take to be eligible for their loan program? Who doesn’t qualify for a grant or loan? Is there grant money available? What is the interest rate? What are the loan terms? And then my favorite question, why does it take so long for us to get a loan approved? We’ve been talking and hearing about this pipeline for close a year at this point. I know we're talking about the government, so I wanted to know how long does it take to get through the red tape. Let me also say I’m talking to Pam, the person in charge of our area for USDA, and she says, well, I’ve heard about your pipeline, but we don’t have any application or paperwork on it yet. And then because of my conversation with Dale Harris, I asked her, I heard from one of our people that USDA was doing to do a grant to us for a million dollars to pay for the pipeline. What happened to that? She said we don’t do only grants like that. The most we ever do is a 55% loan and 45% grant when money is available.

Every board meeting to this date that I’ve attended, I’ve heard Rod Mills update the board that the paperwork is in the process, and he is working with USDA. And do you remember the government shut down? He’s reported he's not able to get any update from USDA on the status because they were shut down at that time.

This was the moment for me I realized Rod Mills hasn’t done a thing on this pipeline paperwork. 

And now they want to try to blame the Mayor for stopping the project.

I called Harold Merritt and Ross Gregerson and told them what I learned and suggested we have Jones and Demille or Sunrise engineering do the pipeline application because they have the resources to get this project submitted to USDA. To do a project like this requires engineering be done. USDA doesn’t say yes or no like we’re asking for a car loan. They want to see the details of the project on paper. Some studies have to be completed. Engineered drawings have to be submitted and reviewed. Financials compiled. And of course, you have to apply for the loan. I told Harold and Ross that I didn’t think Rod had the capacity, as in staff, to do everything that needed to be done without us writing a large check to pay for all of this engineering. You see, a larger firm like Jones and Demille have departments that work on these studies required. They can do the engineering, the drawings and have another department that specializes in grants and help to find money, and fill out the paperwork. They have the capacity and ability to do all of this without being paid until the funding of the project. And BTW, when I was talking to USDA, they also recommended Jones and Demille or Sunrise Engineering because they work with them all the time and they know the process. I’ve supported and even encouraged the pipeline as long as it doesn’t have a negative financial impact on the Disctrict.

So now you know the real story on how the big bad Mayors office has stopped the Canaan Springs pipeline. Isn’t information a powerful thing?