Selling snake oil (November 2, 2016)

For quite a few months, I have followed the politics of Apple Valley with increased interest and with humor. First off all, there is the ballot proposition to levy another tax for fire protection.

Apparently, this tax would amount to about $60 per property per year. This amount would increase each year according to the whims of the Fire District board of directors.

I have not seen any comparisons or statistics detailing the cost per response for Apple Valley Fire District. How do they compare with other local fire districts? Fifteen years ago, AVFD costs per response were twice as high as comparable districts. I find it hard to believe that people are going to vote for a tax if they don’t know the costs involved.

And then, the Apple Valley Town Council wants to buy the water company, allegedly so they can reduce the water rates. Let’s see if I have this right …

Pay upwards of $150 million for the water company assets, hire an armada of government folks to run the water company at surely higher wages and enormous benefits, obligate everything in town to pay off the new debt, and somehow reduce the water rates?

Folks that used to propose schemes like this used to be accused of selling snake oil, or something akin to that. It is interesting to note that no figures have been published in the Daily Press detailing what the new water rates will be or the cost of paying off the $150 million debt.

Let’s estimate. $150 million to be paid off in 20 years equals $7.5 million per year plus interest. If there are 10,000 water customers in AV, that equals about $800 per year or $67 per month per customer, just to service the debt! On top of that, the costs of pumping and supplying water in AV will continue. How can that be a rate reduction?

In summary, the good folks of Apple Valley are being asked to give the fire district a blank check for ever increasing costs, and to let the Town Council buy the water company without possessing any real figures.

It is said that history teaches us well. If so, then let’s look at the town’s purchase of the Apple Valley Country Club. How is that working out?

Be sure to let me know how all this works out for you. I promise I won’t say I told you so!

Norm Orfall, Helendale

Source: Daily Press