Not always black and white (June 15, 2015)

Pat Orr speculates about other reasons why the Town of Apple Valley (TOAV) is pressing for a hostile takeover of Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company (AVRWC). His speculation is that Ranchos doesn’t want the town to grow, and so it is withholding water infrastructure that would allow growth. He blames this reticence on Ranchos not seeing the profit in such a move. Thank goodness the Town Council sees how good it is to have growth for growth’s sake! (Are there other motives for the AVRWC takeover?, Apple Valley Review, June 9, 2015.)

Maybe there’s another motive. Does Orr realize that Ranchos is prohibited from just running mains wherever it wants? Does Orr realize that Ranchos is prohibited from speculative installations? Does Orr realize that Ranchos has to justify each and every move to the California Public Utilities Commission and the Office of Ratepayer Advocates, in addition to getting clearance from the Town?

Profit motive aside, where does Orr think Ranchos would get the roughly $1 million needed per mile of new mains and supporting infrastructure? As for developers paying the costs up front for water service, what exactly does he think the Town’s rate structure is going to be? That’s a major source of income for the Town.

Orr might also have noticed that we’re in a bit of a drought. Maybe Ranchos is trying to do more with less, rather than do nothing with more, which is what expanding the water system into North Apple Valley would have netted them for the last ten years at least.

As for the pure motives of the Town, Orr might want to look into how a modest town such as Apple Valley manages to have millions of dollars in new and near-new municipal buildings. Orr might want to ask where Apple Valley is going to come up with the millions needed to repay RDA funds that seem to be missing, as it struggles to pay off the rest of its debts. Orr might ask why millions needed to be spent on a golf course that not only has staggering water demands, but years later still runs a annual deficit running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars (which, according to the Town, is almost breaking even!). Could it be that the enlightened ones in the Town Hall need the cash flow from Ranchos to paper over past financial boondoggles?

As Orr says, it’s not always black and white.

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.