Letter: Apple Valley Golf Course water lies (March 31, 2015)

Apple Valley, CA — The Town of Apple Valley Council at their March 24, 2015, meeting has decided to use an abandoned well that exists at the Apple Valley Golf Course for water. Many may have forgotten that only one month after the town purchased the former private country club, the primary well had a casing failure. Assistant Town Manager Dennis Cron recommended drilling a new well in a 2009 report. Indecision at the council stymied the idea. The town’s only option was to use Apple Valley Ranchos water to keep the golf course green. In a secret deal promulgated by Mr. Cron with the Apple Valley Ranchos, the town, without public hearing, signed a water wheeling deal to get reduced rates in exchange for replacement water rights now owned by the town, and returned to the Ranchos. The Ranchos did both good business and their civic duty by coming to the rescue. The general public to this day has limited, or no understanding, that this ever took place.

The town, six years later, was again looking to drill a new well at the site with an estimated cost of $350,000, according to Cron’s own staff letter from 2009. This decision was a result of an emergency agenda item added at a previous council meeting during the Holidays that went unnoticed by the public because it occurred literally in the middle of the night, over a year ago. The council voted unanimously to proceed. That decision was again scrapped because this previously unknown well at the golf course was found. I believe this is the reason, but the decision process in between council meetings and the resulting agendas for over a year is largely never shared with the public. I only found out at this last council meeting that the water wheeling deal has expired. But more importantly, the town has owned the golf course since 2008 — but just realized there was another well on their property? They plan to spend, based on staff’s report from the 24th, at least $125,000 to hopefully get a well working again.

Assistant Town Manager Marc Puckett got up at the March 24th meeting and actually tried to say that the town hadn’t purchased the golf course but had acquired it. Mayor Cusack stated that the town would have spent $500,000 on a new well but saved money by using this old well. Mr. Puckett reinforced this by claiming that water costs at the golf course we’re in excess of $200,000 annually, which exceeds the revenue stated in his golf course reports; however, the golf course is nearly breaking even. He further stated that with our own well, costs will be dramatically reduced, but he apparently never read Mr. Cron’s report from 2009 that indicates just electricity for the pump will run over $100,000 annually.

My point is sometimes motivations are right in front of our face. Don’t let the town obscure them by using misdirection and deploying verbal judo.

Source: David Mueller, TheLibertyPoint.com