Another costly day for Apple Valley (December 15, 2016)

December 15, 2015, was a bad day for those in Apple Valley who still desire to seize our water system, as the Federal Reserve Board’s decision to raise rates by one-quarter point raised the cost of the hostile takeover by somewhere around $11 million. Almost exactly one year later, the Fed has raised interest rates by a further one-quarter point, which again adds to the cost of this folly. Word is that more interest rate increases are on their way.

While the Town council publicly states that the water company is worth around $50 million, it is already looking to spend up to $125 million, with no apparent maximum cap. In fact, the Town council refuses to tell us what amount if any would be too much to pay to buy something we already have: A transparent, locally-controlled water company. It’s easy to get the feeling that cost is no object.

Of course, the total price will include all the monies spent so far, costs of all the litigation yet to come, reimbursing Liberty Utilities for its legal expenses, making whole the Yermo water system, early payment penalties on existing bonds, transition costs, and a host of other costs yet unknown, upon which interest will accrue at the new higher rate(s). Even so, these hundreds of millions of dollars will not buy one more drop of water than we currently have, nor improve our current level of service, nor provide us with cleaner water, nor lower our water rates.

The recent approval of Measure V by the voters of Apple Valley, along with the adverse decision in a similar eminent domain case in Claremont, and these interest rate increases all point to one conclusion: The Town council must give up this quest, now and forever.

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

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