Measure F — Facts and personal attacks (May 9, 2017)

Measure F supporters keep complaining about the economic study recently published by Dr. John Husing that shows that Apple Valley water customers would see annual rate increases of at least $500 if the initiative passes. Their complaint is based on the fact that the No on Measure F campaign paid Dr. Husing to conduct the study. Dr. Husing has been working in the high desert and Inland Empire since 1962, so one would have hoped that the Town should have hired him before spending more than $200,000 on the Measure F special election.

The Town of Apple Valley has spent millions on consultant and experts over the years, all of it funded by you the taxpayer. The consulting firm Bartle Wells Associates in their Feasibility Study dated April 2006, paid for by the Town, states on page 4, regarding Town ownership, “Water rates and charges would need to be increased by 17.9.%”

The same firm stated again in their report dated July 2011, used as the basis for the Blue Ribbon Water Committee’s work and paid for with $42K taxpayer dollars, on page 48, “Under the high purchase price scenario, a rate increase of approximately 44% would be necessary.” Just a note, when the courts force the Town to consider the value of Liberty’s water rights, the high purchase price scenario will be the case.

In 2012 the Blue Ribbon Water Committee, appointed by the Town and administered by the Town Attorney’s firm Best Best & Kreiger, who billed the taxpayers over $434,000 for the work, stated in their recommendations on page 3, Sec. 3, “a Town-owned water company is not financially feasible, because most methods of financing will require substantial increases in water costs and/or taxes.”

Residents can even find Dr. Husing’s work on the Town’s website. They reference Dr. Husing as an “industry expert.”

The real scary part of all this isn’t all the taxpayer dollars wasted on these learned opinions and studies. Dr. Husing, although paid for his independent analysis, came to the same conclusion that the Town’s experts did.

The reality is that when you can’t attack the facts, shoot the messenger. Dr. Husing conducted an independent analysis that concluded water bills will increase by at least $500 if Measure F passes. That’s economic reality and what happens when you borrow $150 million in bond debt. Vote No on $500 in new water bills by voting No on Measure F on June 6th.

— Leane Lee, Apple Valley