Earlier today, I made final arguments for the Town at the Arizona Corporation Commission hearing on proposed rate increases for EPCOR water customers in Paradise Valley. I am very pleased to report that for the second time during my service as Mayor, the Town has achieved the excellent result of avoiding huge, sudden increases in water rates. More details to be released soon, including on the savings to Town EPCOR customers and the Town.
I am thankful to the elected members of the Arizona Corporation Commission, who ultimately voted 5-0 in favor of a proposal to keep the Town’s rates separate from other water districts, despite many recommendations for them to have Paradise Valley ratepayers subsidize others. Several years ago, EPCOR had taken its own path in proposing higher rates. This time, EPCOR worked closely with me and our senior staff to narrow the issues and support keeping Paradise Valley in its own district, which is very much appreciated.
I am very proud of the strategic planning, work, and advocacy as your Mayor to achieve this superb outcome. Foremost, though, I want to express sincere thanks to each and every one of our citizens who spoke up when requested by the Town. Your time, efforts, and remarks made a big difference.
In addition, I am grateful to the Town’s Resort Community, who worked closely with the Town to keep rates low for everyone, and spent their own time and money to do that for our community.
As we have come to expect, the Town’s legal and staff teams did a phenomenal job staying on top of this evolving and complex matter and in executing our strategy to perfection, with community buy-in and outreach.
Last but not least, I am very grateful to the Town Council for its hard work and engagement on this issue – every single Council Member contributed and helped in these efforts.
I hope all Town EPCOR customers can rest easier tonight (I am told by our lawyers that the rate order is subject to final appeal, but that this is unlikely given the 5-0 vote).
Rest assured, we will not rest on our laurels, and instead I will keep focused on avoiding unwelcome spikes in utility bills for PV citizens.
Thank you for the privilege of serving as your Mayor.
Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner