Proposition 218: No real protection in Apple Valley

Apple Valley, CA — One of the Town of Apple Valley’s recent H2Ours pretexts for the hostile government seizure of Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company (AVRWC) is that under Town control of the water, “the people have a greater say in setting water rates.”

The Town Government has even disingenuously stated “the citizens would have the right to vote on increases in water rates.”

This is refuted both by Apple Valley’s own past history, and the very structure of Proposition 218.

What is Proposition 218?

According to “In November 1996, California voters passed Proposition 218, the “Right to Vote on Taxes Act.” This constitutional amendment protects taxpayers by limiting the methods by which local governments can create or increase taxes, fees, and charges without taxpayer consent. Proposition 218 requires voter approval prior to imposition or increase of general taxes, assessments, and certain user fees.”

The citizens’ right to ‘vote on increases in water rates’

The Town’s assertion that “the citizens would have the right to vote on increases in water rates” implies that this would happen automatically. It doesn’t, and revisiting the Town’s 75 percent increases in sewer rates since 2008 proves that. (Sewer rates fall under the same Proposition 218 restrictions.)

During the last sewer rate increase imposed by the Apple Valley Town Council, the body spent 20 minutes discussing it. There was no public vote on whether or not to increase the sewer rates.

The increase before that? Four minutes …

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