Indirect comparisons are flawed (February 16, 2017)

Winston Churchill is credited with saying, A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. That would explain why so many persons have fallen for the Town Council’s lies about high water rates in Apple Valley (Free us from Liberty … Utilities, Daily Press, February 15, 2017).

The primary reason that water bills from Liberty Utilities look different from water bills in surrounding areas is that Liberty Utilities is transparent: What you see is what you get. In other communities, some of your water bill is on your mortgage, so you pay monthly for it (plus interest). Some can even be on your tax bill, where it is filtered through one or more government agencies before the remainder is applied to your water bill. Determining the full cost of water in these areas is difficult to impossible for the average person, making direct comparisons of water bills meaningless.

Another factor is system maintenance. Here in Apple Valley, we are very fortunate that Liberty Utilities is able to continue the practice of The Carlyle Group in maintaining our water system at a level unknown in surrounding communities. Keep in mind an unmaintained water system is much more expensive in the long run. Liberty Utilities makes maintenance decisions based on business principles, where in surrounding communities the decisions are often political.

And how do we know that the Town is lying about high rates? Because Barb Stanton is on record as saying that under Town Hall stewardship, water rates would not go down for at least 30 years. By that time, of course, no one currently in Town Hall will be around to be held accountable, and once the Town gets ahold of our water utility, you’d better watch your wallet because transparency and controls will disappear.

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

Published: Daily Press, February 22, 2017