Who pays? (April 27, 2017)

Complaints about Liberty Utilities spending money to defend itself against the predations of the Town of Apple Valley are un-American, plain and simple. But those who take it a step farther and imply that Liberty Utilities is somehow going to pass along to ratepayers its costs for defending itself, really earn a face palm (Reclaim our water, Daily Press, April 27, 2017).

Here are the facts: It is against the law for Liberty to recoup expenses for supporting Measure V and opposing Measure F, and even if it were not, neither the CPUC nor the ORA would allow it.

In any event, campaign spending by Liberty Utilities will almost certainly be less than one percent of the $150 million for which the Town is asking to buy the water system. If you are worried about that amount, I refer you to Matthew 23:24: Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

First, the Town will have to reimburse Liberty for all legal expenses and fees, in addition to paying its own. In Claremont, this amount already totals $13.5 million, which Claremont must now borrow (at interest, of course), just for litigation.

Second, there are dozens of transition expenses should the Town prevail in court. There will be millions in early repayment penalties on existing bonds, millions in fees for new bonds, millions to set up systems to monitor and manage the water works, millions to separate the Yermo water system while maintaining its viability, etc., and all of these millions are on top of the millions required to buy the system and pay the lawyers.

Executive Summary: The Town has guaranteed we will pay millions — win or lose. The difference is that if the Town wins, we pay a lot more, with interest.

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

Published in edited form: Daily Press, May 4, 2017

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