Liberty Utilities decision (Carloni) (May 10, 2021)
Mr. Mayor and Counsel …
Now that the initial decision is in, and yes, your legal team has a chance to object, I ask that each of you read all 84 pages of the decision to understand truly what was stated and not rely on the filtered view of a legal team that has now lost TWICE … Claremont and here.
The decision is well-grounded in substantive law, not emotional arguments. It states that the lofty goals of the Town for local control are not legal grounds to invoke eminent domain and the town’s experts were all discredited right down to the bone. The decision renders incredulous the comments of the mayor in yesterday’s press release.
The financial analysis of the town was very weak and the court was not persuaded because it was based upon faulty documentation. The rate analysis demonstrated that the residents are better served in the long run by the investor utility. The precarious financial condition of the Town and inability to properly follow Prop 218 was also a strongly discussed factor. The rate analysis showed that the Town took more money from the actual rate and thus harmed the ratepayer more than the utility.
In the long run, this dream of another enterprise fund to raid and backfill the general fund is not supported … vision 2020 looking for new revenue sources is fine but must be grounded in the law. This attempt was not.
We have spent so much money, over $7 million on BB&K … and after the decision becomes final, even if tweaked in content, will not be reversed. Don’t spend any more money on this. If you are determined to do so, get independent appellate counsel to review this, provide a check and balance to the rose-colored glasses of BB&K.
I implore you all to additionally consider the costs and attorney fees that may be awarded to Liberty, let us stop the bleeding now.
IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE …
Please read the decision on your own, question, demand answers, and critically review the information provided to you, especially to see if it is consistent with the decision.
Diana J. Carloni, still an AV business owner and part-time resident.