Sewer Assessment District 98-1 (September 7, 2016)

Seems Apple Valley residents were unaware of what was going on with their Sewer Assessment District 98-1. This is just one of several sewer districts formed by the Town of Apple Valley (TOAV). Bonds were issued to acquire and make improvements to the sewer system and were assessed on commercial, residential and vacant parcels south of Bear Valley, between the Mojave River and basically Deep Creek, commonly referred to as the Jess Ranch area (the Market Place, Jess Ranch, Wyndam Rose, Solera, and the Estates to name some).

The process of collection for AD 98-1 is the County collects the property tax assessments and pays them to TOAV, who in turn pays the bond holders through the fiscal agent.

If any citizen locally wanted to look at what was happening with their assessment funds, they would not see the annual continuing disclosures by Willdan Financial Services because they were not on the Town Council agenda. It was handled by staff, and for several years, they also were not even on the EMMA website as required by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which now shows at least some of the reports filed retroactively.

It is fortunate, with TOAV’s lack of transparency, that other agencies are transparent. It appears the only information on AD 98-1 is in TOAV annual audited financial reports filed with the state. According to the fiscal year 2014-2015 report, AD 98-1 showed Additions in the amount of $228,135 and Deletions in the amount of $228,424 (annual funds decrease of $289). What the citizens did not see was the County record of funds collected and distributed to TOAV on AD 98-1 for fiscal year 2014-2015 in the amount of $321,637.27. So what happened to the other $93,502.27 paid to TOAV?

According to the Willdan Financial Services annual continuing disclosure for fiscal year 2014-2015, AD 98-1 has a Capital Projects Fund in the amount of $1,107,326. Where are those funds accounted for?

If any of these annual reports had ever gone before the council the citizens could have asked their questions, but alas it is just another opportunity for the town council to shirk their fiduciary obligations to the people and leave the matter to be hidden in the hands of staff, whom we do not elect.

Are these fund discrepancies just another instance of town finance staff’s poor mathematical skills, transposing numbers, gross incompetence, or what?

— Leane Lee, Apple Valley