Kudos to Allan (May 11, 2015)

Kudos to Peter Allan for his letter to the editor of May 6, Water dreams a mirage and its thoughtful review of Town of Apple Valley/Apple Valley Ranchos (AVR) issues. I would like to add a few items for the community’s consideration.

A private enterprise that provides jobs and stimulates spending in our economy is having their business taken away in exchange for the expansion of government (more employees and management bureaucracy) and creation of more government pension liabilities (all new employees will be entitled to the California Public Employee Retirement System — CalPERS). This is not a plus for ratepayers.

We, the community, need to consider that there will be less public control over any change in water rates or adoption of new charges. AVR now faces a rigorous 12- to 16-month scrutiny of its requests for adjustments to water rates, including multiple public hearings, from the PUC, whose job it is to control rates to avoid monopolistic actions on the part of the utility. That scrutiny will disappear as the Town could adopt changes in rates after two to three months, and one public hearing.

The compensation structure for eminent domain, or the taking of this private enterprise by the Town, cannot be viewed at the book value of its assets. What is being taken by the government is the business’ stream of income on those assets, future growth and profits as well as its goodwill. These items are all compensable to the business enterprise by law, which makes it appear that the $45 million figure being discussed for AVR may be woefully short of the real price tag to acquire AVR.

Aside from the price to pay to acquire AVR, the Town will incur legal costs, expert appraiser fees, and attorney fees, all ultimately borne by the taxpayers and ratepayers. Should the Town complete the acquisition of AVR, the other water entities that serve the Town will surely follow in order until all are Town owned. This we means we, the paying public, will bear these same expenses again and again, perhaps seven or more times!

I am not convinced we will have better service, better rates or a better water system, by having the Town acquire AVR. The only winners in such a venture will be the attorneys.

Source: Diana J. Carloni (O’Malley), Attorney, Victorville, Daily Press