Families waterless in Mora Co. town

-A A +A
By David Giuliani

Freddie Carrillo and his family have had to haul water to their house in Buena Vista for the last two years.

And he said his family has tried to pay its bills with the Buena Vista Water Association, but the group won’t accept the money.

Carrillo said the decision is the result of a clique mentality in the Mora County community. Five other families are suffering the same problem, he said.

“Either you’re with them (the leaders) or you’re not. I’ve been around these cliques all my life,” Carrillo said.

But Roy Mares, the association’s president, said the group has become tougher in recent years with those who aren’t paying their bills — a break with longstanding practice.

He said that when he took the reins a few years ago, he asked the membership what it wanted.

“What I wanted to know was what to do with the people who were delinquent. The majority of the membership said, ‘Shut the services off,’” he said.

And that’s exactly what he said he did. But he said Lillian Sanchez, Carrillo’s mother, who lives at the house in question, was upset with the result.

“Ms. Sanchez’s services were disconnected in 2003,” Mares said. “There was no record she ever paid for water. We knew she had water because there was a meter at her place.”

“I don’t want to take advantage of anyone, but I’m not going to give free services to anyone. There are no freebies,” Mares said.

The association has 71 connections, 49 of which were active, Mares said. Many of the customers who were inactive were delinquent as well, he said.

Over the last few years, Mares said the association has added a 40,000-gallon water tank — much larger than the previous 10,000 gallon one. With the 10,000-gallon tank, people at times would be without water, he said.

Carrillo’s daughter, Diane Carrillo, a Luna Community College student, said the association isn’t working with the families who are without water. She said association meetings are scheduled at inconvenient times.

“A lot of people can’t go because they’re during working hours,” she said.

She also contended that proper minutes weren’t being kept during meetings.

However, Mares said his group is following its procedures.