Special meeting will set up water-system acquistion vote (March 8, 2017)

APPLE VALLEY — The Town Council will hold a meeting Thursday to call for a special election requesting from voters authorization to finance its acquisition of Liberty Utilities’ water system.

The election is tentatively scheduled for June 6, according to town documents, and is the result of voters passing Measure V — the Right to Vote on Debt Act — last November.

In front of the Council will be three resolutions related to the pending election, documents show.

If approved, the resolutions will order the election; set deadlines and priorities for written arguments that will appear on the June ballot; and direct the town attorney to prepare an impartial analysis.

Town spokeswoman Kathie Martin told the Daily Press the impartial analysis will result in information distributed to voters before the election.

Should voters approve the future ballot measure, the town would be authorized to issue up to $150 million in bond debt, which would be used to bankroll a purchase of Liberty’s water system — assuming the right to take the system is achieved through litigation.

That debt total would also include expenses related to acquisition, documents show, and would be repaid from revenues generated by the water system.

On Nov. 8, 2016, more than 67 percent of Apple Valley voters passed Measure V, which forced a vote on the takeover attempt. The measure’s campaign was funded entirely by Liberty, and town officials — in the lead-up to that election — stated the measure’s intent was to make purchasing the company’s water system more difficult.

Prior to Measure V’s passage, the Town Council relied primarily on surveys and campaign promises they said got them re-elected to gauge support for acquisition.

On Wednesday, spokeswoman Kathie Martin told the Daily Press she could not speculate whether the town would have put acquisition to a vote had Measure V not passed; however, she added votes are not required when revenue bonds are used to finance a purchase.

Measure V, then, ensures not just the coming vote on water-system acquisition, but future votes on any issuance of bond debt for purchases in excess of $10 million, as was stipulated in the measure’s language.

Thursday’s special meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. inside Council chambers. Mayor Scott Nassif will participate via teleconference from Orlando, Florida. Town Hall is located at 14955 Dale Evans Parkway. The meeting’s agenda can be found here.

Source: Matthew Cabe, Daily Press