Water at the Horsemen’s Center (August 23, 2020)

In 2014, the Town of Apple Valley spent $10,853.19 to fix the well at the Horsemen’s Center, and $1,450 for a water truck.

In 2016, concerned citizen Kerry Henard publicized other serious water issues at the Horsemen’s Center in the Town of Apple Valley. Some of them were fixed, but other issues surfaced. Costs unknown.

In 2017, the Town spent at least $53,665.77 on emergency repairs to this well, and the Town was trucking in water for the landscaping (costs unknown).

In 2018, the Town spent at least $50,656.72 on emergency repairs to this well, and around $1,800 on a water meter. Town manager Doug Robertson responded to complaints about this well and the dying vegetation at the Center by saying that everything would be fixed by the second week in August. The front page of the Oct.-Nov. Town Newsletter said, “HORSEMEN’S CENTER TURF TO BE RESTORED. Well repaired and put back into service.” It continued to say, “The well was placed back into service on August 16 after a new motor, pump, column pipe, well head and gravel pack were installed to extend its life by about 10 years. Now fully operational, the well has resumed delivering water to the popular park located on the eastern edge of Apple Valley.”

Just this year, though, the Town already has spent $17,940.17 on the Horsemen’s Center pump and at least $800 renting a water truck by the month.

These expenditures notwithstanding, the water level indicator at the Horsemen’s Center typically has hovered around empty for years, which is why the Town has been paying to truck in water for dead vegetation. Sporadically, a Town spokesman will assure us that everything is hunky dory at the Horsemen’s Center.

Even without adding in the other repair costs, maintenance costs, turf replacement (three times in the last three years), permits, electricity costs, trucking costs, and the cost for the trucked-in water, this $136,365.85 would have been enough to buy 9,085,696 gallons (12,146 ccf) of water for the Center at the retail price, and the Town should be paying less than retail.

Let’s hope the Town loses its eminent domain case against Liberty Utilities, lest we all join the Horsemen’s Center in the misery of Town-Hall-style water (and money) mismanagement.

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