About your trash bill (October 15, 2015)

If you are like most persons, you probably shrugged when you saw that your September 2014 bill for trash services from the Town of Apple Valley was 9.7 percent higher than your July 2014 bill. Everything’s getting more expensive all the time, right?

That happy delusion lasts only until you read the Town of Apple Valley’s Adopted Budget for 2015-2016. There, in the section on franchise fees, you read:

The Town has established contract franchise fees of 18% pursuant to its adopted agreement with its waste hauler. This contract fees [sic] increased from 6% to 18% in August, 2014.

TOAV adopted budget for 2015-2016

I may be way off base, but this is the message I am getting:

  1. The Town triples the franchise fee it charges Burrtec (and only Burrtec);
  2. Burrtec reports an increased cost of business, so it has to charge the Town more;
  3. The Town immediately passes along the increase (plus a little more?) to the ratepayers;
  4. Burrtec receives the additional income, and passes it along to the Town;
  5. The Town receives increased revenues from trash fees without putting it to a vote or dealing with Prop. 218;
  6. Ratepayers shell out more money for exactly the same service.

This would mean that raising the franchise fee on Burrtec is just a back-door way of increasing revenue for the Town of Apple Valley. Protection fee or vigorish? You decide! Either way, it may not be illegal, but it certainly is outrageous.

When you go back through the documents and Town Council meetings, you’ll find they did this out in the open, yet few caught onto what was happening. Why not? My guess is it’s because most people would never suspect the council of acting in such an underhanded way.

So much for the ratepayers’ protection under Prop. 218. So much for local control.

If you think this is bad, just wait: You’re not going to believe the financial shenanigans the Town will pull after it seizes Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company.

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