Rate increases (January 6, 2016)

John Pedigo has gone on record stating that he thinks water rates are too high in Apple Valley (Correcting distortion, Daily Press, January 6, 2016). In a previous letter, though, he acknowledged that he has no expectations that the Town will be lowering those rates should it succeed in its hostile takeover of Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company (A counter proposal, Daily Press, December 28, 2015).

This is an interesting shift in the discussion, because for months opponents of the takeover pointed out the hypocrisy of the Town repeatedly saying that water rates were too high, while at the same time planning on retaining those high rates to pay for the massive bond interest that would come with the purchase of Ranchos.

The new line is that of course water rates will stay high, but seizing Ranchos might prevent future rate increases. There are two problems with this line of thinking.

The first problem is that once you account for all costs, Ranchos water rates are among the lowest in our area.

The second problem is that the Town of Apple Valley has a miserable record when it comes to rate increases, as anyone can confirm by examining trash and sewer bills over the last couple of years. In fact, it appears that the Town soon might be involved in lawsuit over its cavalier disregard for Proposition 218. It also has a miserable track record in running water systems, and spending within its means.

This all gets back to a point I have made before: Promises from the Town are worthless. Anyone who thinks the Town can run our water system better than Ranchos should get the Town to guarantee ratepayer protections. If those guarantees are not forthcoming, please, let’s stop the insanity, and let the grown-ups at Ranchos run our water system.

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