PWC official responds to purchase offer (July 1, 2015)

CEO ‘disappointed’ Apple Valley didn’t put issue to vote

APPLE VALLEY — An official with the water company that supplies the town and most of its residents with potable water responded Wednesday to a purchase offer for Apple Valley Ranchos Water Co.

The water company is part of Park Water Co. The Town of Apple Valley mailed the offer on Friday to buy AVR for $50.3 million.

We have received the town’s offer to buy Apple Valley Ranchos. Apple Valley Ranchos is disappointed in the town government’s actions and surprised they have made this offer without a vote of its residents, Park Water CEO Christopher Schilling said in an email.

The town government’s lack of transparency and repeated misstatements about Ranchos continue to confuse voters, he said. Meanwhile they continue to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on something the community already has — a well-run, regulated water system.

These actions by the town government should give all Apple Valley residents tremendous concern.

The company has said AVR is not for sale by itself. It is part of a pending purchase that involves three related Park Water companies — two in Southern California and one in Missoula, Montana — that are properties of Western Water Holdings LLC.

Apple Valley began exploring in earnest the acquisition of Apple Valley Ranchos in April 2014, when the California Public Utilities Commission held a field hearing in Apple Valley over the water provider’s request to raise rates by more than 30 percent over three years.

A division of thought among townspeople has been driving quite a bit of debate on the issue.

The problem is, a town like ours, we have little control over what’s going on, Apple Valley resident Mike Harris told the Daily Press. I’m in favor of the town going after the water company. … Just conserving will not get us lower rates, but gaining control will.

Numerous letters to the editor from Apple Valley residents have questioned the wisdom of the Town’s attempt to purchase or take over Apple Valley Ranchos, however.

Source: Gary Brodeur, Daily Press