AVRWC offers TOAV discount on AVCC water (March 15, 2011)

TOAV still eyeing its own well at the AVCC

The town is investigating whether it makes better financial sense to spend $500,000 drilling its own well at Apple Valley Country Club or to accept an offer from a private company to purchase irrigation water at two-thirds off the market rate.

The well at the country club on Rancherias Road failed shortly after Apple Valley agreed to purchase the struggling property in November 2008. Since then, taxpayers have been handing Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company an average of more than $20,000 a month to keep the fairways green.

After nearly a year of negotiations, Ranchos agreed last week to let the town buy water at 71 cents per 100 cubic feet of water, rather than the $2.18 it’s been paying for the last two years.

The discounted rate was intended to sway the town against drilling its own well, which would halt a hefty revenue stream to Ranchos. In exchange, the town would grant the private company free temporary use of water rights equal to what’s used at the course.

The Town Council agreed March 8 to pursue approval of that special rate from the California Public Utilities Commission [sic]. However, since either party can get out of the agreement with 30 days’ notice, Apple Valley staff was also given marching orders to prepare a long-term cost comparison for drilling the well versus buying water indefinitely.

A report on those options should be presented at the next Town Council meeting, scheduled for March 22.

Some residents expressed concern during the Council meeting that they’d be absorbing the discount offered to the town. However, officials from Ranchos issued a statement Thursday that said the agreement will result in lower rates for customers than if the golf course were lost as a customer all together.

The CPUC rules do not allow our company to charge for service at something other than normal scheduled rates unless it is in the best interest of our ratepayers, General Manager Scott Weldy said. But we were able to develop a rate which we believe accomplishes that and I think this is a good deal for ratepayers and good for the taxpayers of Apple Valley.

Source: Apple Valley Review, applevalley-review.com/node/96