Praise the lowered (July 8, 2015)

The Town of Apple Valley has been hammering away at the water rates charged by Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company, using every trick in the Politician’s Big Book of Demagoguery to paint Ranchos as a greedy profit hound that must be cleansed from the face of the Earth. Yet, when it comes to the Town’s own plans for setting water rates, they’re a bit more coy.

Buried in the TOAV’s February 2014 Feasibility Study:

… the current rate structure would stay in place if the Town acquires AVR.

The October 2014 Voter Guide in the Victorville Daily Press quoted TOAV council member Scott Nassif as saying:

Can we lower the rates (if the town owns the company)? Maybe, maybe not.

On the website the Town set up to promote its proposed takeover of Ranchos (AVH2Ours website), the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page reads:

[Q:] Are you going to lower rates?
[A:] We cannot promise to reduce rates after acquisition …

Most recently, the Town issued an initial environmental impact study of its proposed seizure of Ranchos, which reads in part:

The following objectives have been defined for the proposed Project: […] Provide greater local control over the rate setting process and rate increases; […]


The Town is proposing only to acquire and operate the existing system, and is not proposing changes or expansion to the physical AVR System or to the associated water rights, nor is the Town proposing any changes to the manner of operation of the AVR System or the exercise of the associated water rights.

Anybody who’s paying attention would reasonably conclude that because (1) it needs money (lots of it), and (2) has targeted Ranchos’ cash flow, and (3) the targeting of this cash flow is consistent with point eight of its Vision 2020, and (4) it keeps telling us not to expect rate decreases, and (5) it already has the current water rates and rate increases baked into its financial model; the Town therefore has no intention of lowering rates. Right?

Wrong. At last night’s meeting to introduce the Town’s Environmental Impact Report of the acquisition of Ranchos, a member of the audience pointed out that the Town has as much as said it would not be lowering water rates. Fortunately, an Assistant Town Manager was on hand to show his mastery of polemics.

It is not correct that we will not be lowering rates. That’s a lie.

That’s quite a bold statement, coming from someone who doesn’t know what the Town is going to be paying for Ranchos, doesn’t know what the Town is going to be receiving for that payment, doesn’t know how to run a water utility, doesn’t know who is going to run the system for the Town, and doesn’t know how much it’s going to cost the Town to run the system.

Or maybe it wasn’t the audience member who was lying.

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.