Facts, not fraud (January 18, 2017)

Thomas Lecoq makes the mistake of drawing conclusions about our water situation based on misrepresentations from the Apple Valley Town Council (Liberty Utilities, Daily Press, January 18, 2017). Big mistake.

First, the Wheeler family sold the system to Carlyle because they were unable to afford more than minimal operations. And although Carlyle did buy it specifically to fix it up and sell it, Liberty Utilities bought it as a long-term holding. This is called capitalism, and it is supposed to be the economic system here in the United States. The Town Council has had since 1988 to buy the water company, but never acted when it was cheap. Now the Town Council is taking the most expensive approach possible.

Second, it is against the law for Liberty Utilities to use rate money for political campaigns or even political communications. At any rate, any political contributions or donations must be reported by law.

Third, our water rates are comparable with rates in surrounding areas, and with Liberty Utilities, you actually get to see what you’re paying for water on one bill. Elsewhere, some of the cost may be on your mortgage or on your tax bills, so while your water bill might look low, that’s only because it doesn’t represent the total amount you are paying.

Fourth, the Town has said it will not reduce rates for 30 years — that is, until after the bond(s) are paid off — and there’s no way it could. The Town will be subject to the same market forces as Liberty Utilities, but have the additional burden of hundreds of millions of bond debt. Keep in mind that the Town can’t even manage its current finances, or maintain its current facilities. The Town’s modus operandi would prove a disaster in the operation of a water utility.

Our otherwise wonderful town has been all but destroyed by the current Town Council. Anyone looking for fraud should look first at Town Hall, but don’t believe anything they tell you: Check everything for yourself.

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