Liberty’s proposed rate increase (February 8, 2022)
It makes sense that Liberty would need to increase rates. Liberty has gone for many years without a rate increase (because of the Town of Apple Valley’s insane attempt to seize the water company), they voluntarily froze rates for a while, and if I remember correctly they even lowered rates a few years back. During this same time, Liberty has spent millions in improvements and maintenance, which shows in the fact that they have a perfect water quality record.
Also for years, Liberty customers in Apple Valley have enjoyed the lowest water rates of any community in our area (regardless of the lies told by the Town of Apple Valley and their amen-choir), so if rates don’t increase, something will have to give. Many of us moved to Apple Valley for its better way of life. A top-tier water company is part of that better way of life, in my opinion. Thanks to the self-serving idiots on the Town Council, Apple Valley has terrible roads and ever-increasing problems with crime and homelessness. Soon, our spineless Town Council members are going to vote to gut the half-acre lot requirement, which will give them the high-density housing they crave. Be grateful that we still have professionals running our water system.
Keep in mind that in the years during which Liberty either froze or lowered water rates, the costs of almost everything have been going up. Now electricity costs, which are a huge component in determining water rates, are going up even more. If Liberty is not allowed to recover those costs, we will either not have water, not have a well-maintained system, not have safe water, or some combination of these.
As the trial court ruled:
[…] Since Liberty acquired the Apple Valley water system at the beginning of 2016, annual operating expenses on a per-connection basis have been reduced by 12.81%.pg. 61
[…] The evidence shows that, adjusting for inflation and considering the actual average monthly consumption, residential water bills in Apple Valley — including surcharges and other monthly charges — have decreased by 6.8% from 2009 through 2019. (Exh. 976.)pg. 68
I’m guessing that not one of those opposing this rate increase has read the judge’s opinion in the eminent domain case. Don’t believe Apple Valley Town Hall liars, folks, read the facts for yourself. In that same vein, Liberty is forbidden by law from recovering its costs from the litigation from the rate payers — unlike the Town of Apple Valley — so not one penny of any future rate increase will go toward eminent domain costs or fees.
— Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.