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Scottsdale City Council gives statement amid Rio Verde Foothills turmoil

Scottsdale City Manager Jim Thompson earlier this year at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd. (Photo: Arianna Grainey/DigitalFreePress.com)

Scottsdale City Council remains steadfast in legal assertion

By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

Scottsdale City Council held its regular meeting Tuesday, Jan. 24, but prior to the public hearing the local governing board went into executive session — a legal right for Arizona lawmakers to discuss certain items away from the limelight of the public arena.

These items are reserved — and governed by Arizona statute — to discuss legal or personnel matters within the municipality.

Around 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, through Public Affairs Director Kelly Corsette, Scottsdale City Council released the following statement:

“The Scottsdale City Council met in executive session Tuesday regarding legal issues related to the Rio Verde Foothills area, an adjacent portion of unincorporated Maricopa County where some homes and properties have been developed without a planned water supply,” the statement reads.

“Pursuant to state law, what was discussed in the executive session is confidential. The city is aware that potential solutions are being proposed and discussed at the county and state levels. Scottsdale continues to encourage Maricopa County — the elected local government for the residents of Rio Verde Foothills — to lead discussions toward possible solutions on behalf of their constituents. Scottsdale is willing to discuss solutions that comply with the city’s state-mandated Drought Management Plan and do not negatively impact water resources for city of Scottsdale residents.”

The statement provided comes on the heels of a recent Maricopa County Superior Court ruling in the city of Scottsdale’s favor, which requests a formal request for temporary water-delivery service to the Rio Verde Foothills community.

On the heels of headlines and what appears to be the threat of more pending legal action, the Scottsdale City Manager’s Office Monday, Jan. 16, issued a ‘statement of facts’ regarding the recent decision to end water access to residents of the Rio Verde Foothills.

Amongst the lineage and history of the issue of water availability to the community part of the jurisdiction of Maricopa County, the statement of fact outlines a possible solution to long-term water availability in the Rio Verde Foothills.

But part of the Jan. 16 ‘statement of facts’ provided to the Arizona Digital Free Press is a potential step toward a solution embodied through a water district being formed by Rio Verde residents and EPCOR’s desire to serve the community part of unincorporated land.

City officials report EPCOR communicated interest to the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2022 in a written communication to provide a possible long-term water solution, but voicing concerns in that letter that their solution would not be viable for at least two years pending plans for infrastructure construction, city officials report.

The proposal put forth to the Arizona Corporation Commission does not offer an interim solution from the company. The city of Scottsdale was then approached as that possible interim solution but uncertainties regarding this are still outstanding, city officials say.

However, Resolution No. 12063, which adopts draft language for the formation of the Rio Verde Foothills Domestic Water Improvement, will be considered at Scottsdale City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Thursday, Feb. 2.

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