Water and greed (January 9, 2017)

The New York Times has published a series of well-researched articles called In American Towns, Private Profits From Public Works. Apple Valley is included in the reporting, which concludes: In the typical private equity water deal, higher rates help the firms earn returns of anywhere from 8 to 18 percent, more than what a regular forprofit water company may expect. And to accelerate their returns, two of the firms have applied a common strategy from the private equity playbook: quickly flipping their investment to another firm.

This is going on from Bayonne, N.J., to Missoula, Mont., to good old Apple Valley and beyond.

In California, it doesn’t help that privately owned water companies, including Liberty Utilities, are governed by a public body that guarantees them a rate of return far beyond what investors could make on Wall Street. Regular private businesses don’t get that kind of protection.

It would be lovely to have our town featured in a national newspaper like the New York Times for some of the great qualities of our community. Unfortunately, we appear to be just another town taken advantage of by greedy investment bankers making returns for millionaire CEOs on the backs of our people.

I hope and pray the town is successful in acquiring the water company from its greedy owners.

Bill McDaniel, Apple Valley

Source: Daily Press