The truth about water (October 19, 2015)

I wish all could have read the LA Times Cities In A Water Fight on 10/15/2015, featuring local comments from Lance Arnt, AVUSD teacher, and Town Manager Robinson. The enlightening part was not the locals’ comments but what was revealed deeper in the article.

When the City of Rialto contracted their water and sewer operation with the private equity firm Table Rock Capital and the French water company Veolia, Rialto received $30 million cash, and $41 million in capital improvements.

However, further online research revealed Table Rock and other investors received a $26 million equity stake, there was also a payoff of $27.4 million in Rialto debt from bonding totaling $146 million over the next 30 years at 5.5% interest rate. This after Rialto had raised their water and sewer rates 114.8% six months earlier for utilities they already owned.

How does this relate to Apple Valley? I have said before, the town’s issue with Ranchos Water is not about water, it’s about the town’s deficit spending and need for revenue. For the last three years the town’s net treasury has declined almost 48%. During that same time town manager warned council repeatedly the continued spending levels require a new revenue stream.

The recent EIR process for the water acquisition put forward ridiculous alternatives for future operations, contracting with Victorville or Hesperia, or in-house. As we have seen for years, the town does nothing in-house, it is all contracted out. The unspoken alternative, most likely the real intent, is evidenced by prior talks between town staff and the Kinsell Newcomb & DeDios (KND) people, who offered an arranged meeting with Table Rock Capital. So, multi millions of dollars leading up to and pursuing eminent domain and the cost to purchase, to end up with the same thing we currently have, private equity firm and foreign operator, but DEEPER in debt. Note this is the same KND involved in the Victorville SEC investigation and the former IRS school bond investigations where KND paid millions in settlement.

The real question is, how does a cash payment to the city/town, funded by utilities, meet Prop. 218 requirements?

I agree with H2Ours when they say, truth matters. Unfortunately it appears it does not apply to them. As grandma used to say, Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

— Leane Lee, Apple Valley


Published: Daily Press