WATER UTILITY COOPERATIVE
Our Cooperative works for you!
The Bonita Creek Water Company is a Water Utility Cooperative. This document is intended to briefly explain how it works.
But first we want you to know that you are now an important part of a Corporation that has the mission of delivering clean, potable water to our Patrons within the Bonita Creek service area.
Read on to get an introduction to the rights, and some responsibilities, which come with your decision to join. We are only touching on the highlights here, so if you wish know more contact an a board member.
What is a Cooperative?
A Cooperative is a non-profit, tax-exempt entity collectively owned by its Members to carry out an established mission. Members are similar to Shareholders of a for-profit Corporation. When a person acquires a property within the service area of the Bonita Creek Water Company, they are automatically initially qualified to be a member of the Cooperative.
How are water rates determined?
The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) determines a water rate increase based on the water company’s annual expenditures vs income and any pressing needs for updating its infrastructure. The ACC only considers a rate increase if requested by the Board.
What does it mean to be a Member?
Once you are a Member of the Cooperative, you may also become a Patron…but this is not absolutely required. However, if you want to have water service delivered to a water meter on your property, you simply need to make a request for that service and when water service is turned on, you are also called a Patron.
What does it mean to be a Patron?
Patrons are the “customers” of the Water Company. The water delivered through the system is metered to record the gallons used. Each month your meter will be read and the current rates will apply to your usage. The water usage for that month will be billed to the address or email you provide to the Cooperative.
What responsibilities does a Patron have?
The monthly bill should be paid within 10 days after you receive it. If a Patron fails to pay the usage fees within 30 days of billing, they will, along with the next month’s billing, be sent a “Notice of fees payable”. If they fail to pay this billing in full, they can have their Membership in the Cooperative terminated and their water service turned off.
But a Patron also has a voice in the Cooperative. And that voice is heard through an annual meeting called by the Directors, who serve as the Cooperative’s Officers. At the annual meeting, each Patron will have one vote per Director position and can re-elect the then current Directors, or they can vote for another Patron to fill that slot.
What does it mean to be a Director/Officer?
The Directors/Officers manage the affairs of the Cooperative for no compensation. They are charged with keeping the water delivery service operating properly, reliably, and legally. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Environment Protection Agency are State and Federal authorities which oversee the Bonita Creek Water Company. Directors/Officers must see that water delivered through the system meets the standards set by this Agency.
To do this, the Directors/Officers secure the services of qualified Water Operators who monitor the system’s water on a very regular basis. Through technology and filtration systems the water is carefully prepared for delivery through the buried lines running throughout the service area.
The Directors/Officers also monitor the financial situation of the Cooperative. At year end, they review projections of future financial needs of the Co-op and reserve necessary funds. If there is a surplus beyond this, they credit each Patron’s account with their proportionate share. This credit may or may not be refunded.
More ways to help as a Patron…
Water in Arizona is both precious and valuable. We are very fortunate to have the rights to this important resource. But with it comes some responsibilities. As a “co-owner” in the Water Company, please:
be judicious with your usage, We are a small water company with only 1 water operator and excess water usage can put a strain on the system. It requires additional maintenance, filtration and power costs. For irrigation needs consider rain water harvesting or grey water use.
…be a prompt payer of your usage fees. The Co-op operates on a very thin budget and relies heavily on usage fees to stay solvent. Delinquent bills are expensive to collect and take away from the mission of the Co-op.
…be ready to volunteer. The Co-op is always in need of help from the Patrons. The help can be in form of running for a Director/Officer slot, keeping Bonita Creek clean and healthy, or assisting in administrative tasks. You are valuable as a Patron and your help is appreciated.
The Co-op is always in need of help from the Patrons. The help can be in form of running for a Director/Officer slot, keeping Bonita Creek clean and healthy, or assisting in administrative tasks. You are valuable as a Patron and your help is appreciated.
Some points of interest…
The System is always a work in progress…
Don’t be surprised to see Patrons and Contractors at work on the Water Company equipment. New technology is always being used when the Co-op can afford it and when the Directors/Officers deem it needed.
Directors/Officers can disqualify a member…
If a member behaves in a manner that puts the Co-op in jeopardy, the Directors/Officers have the prerogative to expel, suspend or terminate the membership. We operate for mutual benefit of the Patrons.