Maricopa Residents Take Water Company To Task

Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - 7:16am
Updated: Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - 4:19pm

(Photo by Matthew Casey, KJZZ)
Ron Fleming, president and CEO of Global Water Resources, responds to complaints about bill spikes, failed infrastructure and customer service.
(Photo by Matthew Casey, KJZZ)
Marty McDonald speaks to the Maricopa City Council during a special meeting about Global Water Resources.

Concerns about high water bills and poor customer service have impacted people living on opposite sides of the Valley. KJZZ’s Matthew Casey has been covering the story in Buckeye, where there’s an effort under way to recall the mayor. And in Maricopa, where the City Council embarked on a fact-finding mission last night to gauge people’s level of frustration.

Maricopa residents are fed up with their water company, and they sounded off Tuesday night about bill spikes, infrastructure failures and bad customer service.

The mayor of Maricopa called the meeting a fact-finding mission. Leaders wanted to learn more about the anger residents feel toward the company, Global Water Resources.

Turnout was so big that the crowd spilled out of council chambers and into the lobby.

Representatives from Global Water were there, too. A group took questions in the lobby, and another sat near the podium where residents aired their grievances.

“A definite truth inside of everything that’s going on here is that our customers are frustrated with our customer service, and we are focused on it,” said Ron Fleming, Global Water’s president and CEO. “We’re going to make it better.”

But some people didn’t leave the meeting convinced of the company’s efforts.

Marty McDonald has launched a petition asking the city to investigate Global Water and file a complaint with the Arizona Corporation Commission. More than 1,800 people have signed it.

“I still sense that Global wants to dismiss the complaints,” McDonald said. “That they still don’t think there is a problem. They’re the only water provider in here. So nobody can’t not pay their water bill. Otherwise, they won’t have water.”

Maricopa has no regulatory authority over Global Water and the City Council took no action at the meeting. But McDonald said it was still a step forward because it opened up a dialogue.

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