What Are We Doing?
Opposing the hostile takeover of Liberty Apple Valley
Peter Allen and I worked together for four years on the Apple Valley Town Council, so I was a little taken back when I read how he thought sewer and trash rates are paid and how that would somehow translate into how the Town would charge for water use. In the four years Peter was on the Town Council, I do not recall him ever questioning how sewer and trash bills were allocated to our residents.
It is true that if you live in the Town limits you are required to be part of the Town’s trash pick up, but you only pay based on the size of your trashcan. So if you have a small trash can, you do not pay the same as someone with a dumpster. Also, if your home is vacant you can ask for a vacancy credit. This is the standard in any community that provides trash service. Our residents only pay sewer fees if they use the system. If you are on septic, you do not pay sewer fees. I am sure everyone realizes how difficult it would be to count and charge by the flush, or how many times you take a shower per month.
Regarding the question of debt, the Town has made several presentations regarding how the acquisition of the water system would be financed. Elimination of corporate profits, taxes, unnecessary corporate overhead and other expenses would provide more than enough resources to pay the debt to acquire the water system. Financing of the water system can easily be accomplished within the water rates that are now charged with no increase in rates, surcharges, fees, or taxes! I am not sure where he came up the $120 million price tag, but similar sized systems in Claremont and Missoula, Montana were priced by the court at about $88 million.
I also disagree with Peter regarding property values in Apple Valley. Our excessive water rates and surcharges are significantly higher than our neighboring communities. This is causing people to think twice about moving into Apple Valley. Real Estate brokers are telling me this has become a real issue with some sellers having to discount the home price once the buyer sees how high the water rates are. There is a reason that 87 percent of all water systems are publicly owned!
Measure V is written, funded and supported by Liberty Utilities, a foreign-owned private utility company. You have to ask yourself why is a foreign-owned corporation so interested in how debt is financed in Apple Valley? Is it ethical for Liberty Utilities to use money generated from water rates to influence elections and change local codes? I think it is also important to note Peter was quoted in a recent mailer supporting changing how we finance projects in Apple Valley. The mailer was sponsored and funded by Liberty Utilities.
Scott Nassif, Mayor Pro-Tem Town of Apple Valley
Source: Daily Press