Local control will be the death of us (June 24, 2016)

It never ceases to amaze me how all the politically connected bigwigs in Apple Valley can be so wrong on the facts surrounding the Town’s hostile takeover of Liberty Utilities.

Bill McDaniel states that our local water system was bought and sold like a sack of potatoes (Water is life, Daily Press, June 23, 2016). Virtually nothing could be farther from the truth. The Wheeler family sold because they were overwhelmed by the costs of continued operation. Since then, Apple Valley Ranchos (including The Carlyle Group) spent more than $31 million in maintenance and upgrades (including the purchase of additional water rights), while Liberty Utilities has spent more than $2 million in maintenance and upgrades. Of course, maintenance and upgrades now have all but ceased thanks to recent actions by the know-nothings running the Town of Apple Valley.

Furthermore, the Town has had numerous opportunities since 1988 to buy the water system, and each time has declined to act.

There may be those who aren’t aware of these facts, but McDaniel served on the Town’s Blue Ribbon Water Committee, which in January 2012 advised against the purchase of the water utility because the cost might be too much. If the water system is bigger, better, and more valuable now than it was in 2012, logic dictates that it is going to be more expensive to buy it, despite the lies about fair market value from Town representatives.

McDaniel then makes some unsupported (and unsupportable?) claims about future water rates and financing.

McDaniel concludes by averring that local ownership represents water nirvana. Perhaps he should check how that process is working for townspeople who after paying top dollar for the golf course, are now saddled with further millions in ever-increasing golf course debt.

The salient points are: The Town is going broke; the Town has a perfect record of failure when it comes to operating water systems; the Town has a near-perfect record of failure in plant maintenance with regards to existing facilities; the Town has a near-perfect record of failure in fiscal matters; and if we allow the Town to seize whatever it wants for its own ends, there will be no business or property that is safe from its grasp.

If the letter writer truly believes that water is life, then for all of our sakes we need to have the grown-ups at Liberty Utilities running our water system.

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

Published: Daily Press