Transparency, Apple Valley style (July 28, 2020)

The first Transparency Report in August 2015 by the Town of Apple Valley informed residents that the Town estimated the cost of seizing the water company via the eminent domain process would be $3.2 million. By February 2016, this budgeted amount had risen to $3.5 million, although no Town budget includes this massively expensive project. The Town published only three of these supposedly monthly reports before the last one in September 2016. Since then, the Town has dribbled out only partial data.

All along, concerned citizens have accused the Town of playing down the numbers, a charge that gained traction after then-Town Manager Frank Robinson was caught red-handed understating expenditures by more than half.

Recent documents show that the Town is still engaged in hiding the true costs of this jihad. According to a billing summary by the Town’s legal team, the Town has spent more than $4 million in legal fees in the last 12 months alone on this litigation.

Piecing together information from other public documents, it appears that the total amount spent on legal and expenses relating to eminent domain is nearly $8 million since 2006. Expect this figure to increase, as the trial is far from over. Win or lose, Apple Valley residents are on the hook for every penny.

When combined with the $10 million-plus in red ink from the purchase of the golf course and subsequent maintenance, it’s little wonder that the Town resorted to payday loans, and now needs to raise our taxes. For the Town Council, it’s easier to raise our taxes than to make wise decisions.

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

Published: Daily Press

Files related to the the Town’s transparency