SCHOA files petition to Supreme Court for Sun Cities appeal

Officials believe they have good argument

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A petition to the Arizona Supreme Court to hear Sun City Home Owners Association’s appeal of the Arizona Corporation Commission’s approval to consolidate wastewater district was filed Feb. 21.

“We believe we have a good brief,” said George Courtot, SCHOA board vice president.

SCHOA officials appealed the Arizona Corporation Commission’s 2017 decision to consolidate five wastewater districts operated by EPCOR Water Co., which resulted in higher rates for Sun City and Sun City West customers. The Arizona Court of Appeals Jan. 23 rejected an appeal of SCHOA’s lawsuit seeking a rehearing of the 2017 wastewater rate case.

“The board approved funding to begin this appeal process on behalf of every homeowner and condo owner in the Sun City district,” Jim Hunter, SCHOA president, stated in an email.

Like the appeal, this latest effort, if successful, will affect the Sun City West district. For that reason, the Property Owners and Residents Association supports SCHOA’s efforts. PORA officials said they will continue to follow the case. Mr. Hunter said he expected support from other communities, such as Youngtown, should the Supreme Court choose to hear the case.

Mr. Courtot said SCHOA officials will include their brief in the organization’s next monthly newsletter and the entire petition can be viewed on the agency’s website, suncityhoa.org.

ACC officials have 30 days to respond to the petition.

Mr. Courtot said there are two major points in the SCHOA petition. The first, a constitutional point, is whether or not the ACC is open to review and the second point is SCHOA officials believe the ACC did not follow its own procedures in making the consolidation decision.

“The larger issue is reigning in a commission,” Mr. Courtot said. “We’re talking about huge sums of money be paid to utilities.”

He said SCHOA officials will work to get more organizations involved to help with the legal costs of the appeal. He said a commitment was already made by PORA officials.

“We led this fight because we believed, and still believe, that forced consolidation is wrong, and it results in unfair rates to the residents,” Mr. Hunter stated. 

Sun City homeowners contributed more than $62,000 toward appeal legal costs and SCHOA spent about $103,000, according to Mr. Hunter.

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