‘Twas a famous victory (August 28, 2015)

According to the Daily Press, Town (of Apple Valley) leaders were elated Thursday upon hearing recent news out of Missoula, Montana, that the valuation process of Mountain Water Company will not be halted despite a motion made by the Carlyle Group.

This should not surprise us, because as with many government entities these days, the Town of Apple Valley considers itself first and citizens second. As long as it gets what it thinks it wants, citizens should simply shut up and pay their taxes.

Here’s my take on this.

A court in Missoula has ruled that the city of Missoula can seize Mountain Water Company. Mountain Water Company has appealed the decision. In an attempt to save the citizens of Missoula from unnecessary costs (and drama), Mountain Water Company asked the court to stay the seizure. Now, the court has ruled that Missoula can proceed with certain aspects of the seizure without awaiting the higher court’s decision on the seizure itself.

Only time will tell if this truly is a win for the city of Missoula. If it isn’t, the down side is enormous.

Consider what could happen next.

Missoula seizes the water company, reimburses Mountain Water Company as specified in the valuation, and starts paying for all the transition and other costs. Then, the higher court reverses the ruling of the lower court.

At that point, Missoula would have to turn everything back over to Mountain Water Company.

The Daily Press also quotes TOAV Mayor Pro Tem Barb Stanton as saying that Missoula is doing to Mountain Water Company what TOAV wants to do to Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company, and that Missoula is about one-third to its goal.

This is important because according to last reports, Missoula has spent $3.4 million on legal and other associated fees. This means Missoula is looking at spending more than $10 just on the run-up to the seizure, not counting the purchase price, transition costs, etc. Yet TOAV’s transparency report shows the Town has budgeted just $3.2 million for its seizure of Ranchos, and has already spent $1.4 million!

To quote Robert Southey:

And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.

But what good came of it at last?
Quoth little Peterkin.
Why, that I cannot tell, said he,
But ‘twas a famous victory.

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