The numbers don’t add up (August 11, 2019)
On July 24th of this year, I requested from the Town of Apple Valley copies of each of the promised monthly “transparency reports” related to the acquisition of the water company since August 2015, as well as a listing of all expenses related to the acquisition.
As I expected, the Town has not produced monthly reports on this matter; in fact, I was told there were only two such reports even though there have been three. Regarding the list of expenses, at first it claimed to have no knowledge of them, but then promised to get back to me on August 8. I’m still waiting.
Previously, the Town said that their acquisition budget was $3,500,000, even though nothing about the acquisition appears in any of the annual budgets the Town publishes for us citizens.
At the end of 2015, the Town claimed to have spent $627,009 in “direct” attorney costs related to the acquisition, so add the new figure (which they apparently do not release to concerned citizens) and you have $3,330,103 to date just for attorneys and they are still preparing for a lengthy trial toward the end of the year. With other costs to date — only a fraction of which are public — the total spent is in the neighborhood of $5 million or more (“Town of Apple Valley plans to get bigger if victorious in water suit,” Daily Press, August 11, 2019). So much for these unbudgeted budget expenses.
To summarize, the Town believes the millions it has spent so far — plus the attorney fees and court costs of the litigation yet to come, plus reimbursing Liberty Utilities for its legal expenses, plus making whole the Yermo water system, plus early payment penalties on existing bonds, plus transaction costs, plus transition costs, plus printing costs, plus costs of issuance, plus the underwriting discount, plus money for a reserve fund, plus other costs yet unknown, plus bond counsel, plus disclosure counsel, plus a financial advisor, plus a rating expert, plus a trustee, plus a special tax consultant, plus an assessment engineer, plus a new public works director, plus increases in salary for each of the 40-50 new employees, plus CalPERS retirement costs for each new employee, plus the principal and interest on the loan — will allow them to buy a water system we already have, and then lower the price of water. Anyone who falls for that should have his head examined.
The Town of Apple Valley can’t even maintain its roads and has taken out a “payday loan” to cover its current bills. If the Town takes over the water system, we’d each better have plenty of bottled water on hand.
Greg Raven, Apple Valley, CA
Published: Daily Press
— Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.
Files related to the the Town’s “transparency”
- 20100913 Transparency — Ethics — Accountable (Stanton)
- 20150526 TOAV lacks transparency (Lee)
- Transparency is job No. 1
- 20150811 Ranchos Acquisition Efforts Transparency Report
- 20150914 Letter: Transparency or racket? (Harbottle)
- A critical examination of the TOAV’s ‘Transparency Report‘
- TOAV ‘transparency’: One and done, or more to come?
- TOAV’s attempt at transparency is sorely lacking
- Wrong focus
- Comparative transparency
- 20160126 Ranchos Acquisition Efforts Transparency Report
- Comparing transparency
- The future of transparency
- 20160831 Ranchos Acquisition Efforts Transparency Report
- 20160913 Ranchos Acquisition Efforts Transparency Report
- 20160915 Apple Valley’s water transparency report reveals price tag at $1.5 million
- Some ‘transparency’
- Public records request: Transparency reports
- Public records request: Acquisition-related documents
- 20190725 TOAV PRR response 1
- 20190725 TOAV PRR response 2
- 20190726 TOAV PRR extension
- Following up on unanswered public records requests
- The numbers don’t add up
- 20190812 TOAV response to public records request 2019-292: No records related to acquisition expenses
- Public records request 2019-292: Attorney demand letter
- 20190820 TOAV PRR 2019-292: Acknowledgement of demand letter
- 20190830 TOAV partial response to public records request 2019-292
- Transparency, Apple Valley style