MIA from the ‘Transparency Report’ (September 16, 2016)

Your account of the presentation of the so-called Transparency Report to the Apple Valley Town Council omitted some pertinent facts (Apple Valley’s water transparency report reveals price tag at $1.5 million, Daily Press, September 15, 2016).

First, it wasn’t a ten-page report, it was a one-page report. Previous similar reports did have additional pages, but not this one.

Second, the slide of Liberty Utilities president Greg Sorensen does not say what Assistant Town Manager of Finance & Administration Marc Puckett says it does. This is the fourth time Town representatives have falsely characterized this slide, despite being corrected months ago both by members of the public and by Liberty Utilities.

Third, the rates in Apple Valley are not twice those in surrounding areas, once you take in account all the hidden charges found in municipal water systems. Eric Larsen of Liberty Utilities did an excellent job of explaining this very point later in the meeting, and his comments should have been included in your report.

Fourth, many if not most of the expenditures in the so-called Transparency Report have zero to do with the acquisition of either Ranchos or Liberty Utilities. Rather, they appear on this report so that if the Town ever obtains a bond for the takeover, it can recoup millions not spent on the project and leave the ratepayers on the hook for that amount plus interest.

Fifth, the reason Liberty has had to threaten the Town with legal action over the recycled water issue is because many years ago the Town granted Ranchos the exclusive retail water rights for its service area. The Town is unilaterally trying to renege on its deal. Tom Piper mentioned this in the public comments section of the meeting, and his insights should have been included in your report.

Sixth, Liberty has no obligation to release documents to the Town, and is probably not inclined to do so given the toxically adversarial relationship the Town has created. Liberty does, however, release numerous documents to the CPUC, which makes them available to one and all via the Internet.

With that said, I wish to thank the Daily Press for not repeating any of the many other misrepresentations made by Mr. Puckett at the Tuesday night meeting.

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

Published: Daily Press, September 23, 2016