Measure F could be your worst nightmare (Carloni)

Apple Valley voters be aware! A financial disaster like Adelanto could be in Apple Valley’s future, and all of us will be forced to pay for it.

The banner story in the May 8th edition of The Daily Press, Adelanto Water Hikes Loom, foreshadows what could occur in the Town of Apple Valley. Adelanto is in technical default of its bond obligations, a situation caused by lowered revenues due largely to conservation by water users (a story familiar to all). The Adelanto water department can operate but has no money for capital improvements and reserves, placing their system and safe water at risk. The City Council has turned down rate increases in the past and now faces the difficult task of telling its residents about needed major increases in water rates to correct a situation that it can no longer ignore.

The Town of Apple Valley wants to burden its residents with $150 million in bond debt, plus an anticipated $10 million per year for interest payments, to purchase a water company we already have.

The price?

The town does not yet know the figure. But San Bernardino County’s leading economist has released a report that paints a dim picture of how much it would cost each of us if Measure F passes.

Dr. John Husing is not unknown to the town.

The town has hired him on several occasions to study its own programs and initiatives. His recent report was clear.

Not only did his study show that the town is incapable of successfully operating a water agency, it showed that each water customer … every family and small business … would be on the hook for $500 to $620 each year just to pay the debt service on the bond.

That’s $80 to $100 more out of our pockets with each water bill we receive.

The town has a history of depleting its fund balances and outspending its income. They are operating in what’s called deficit spending, which this year alone totals over $3 million.

The town balances its budget by dipping into savings.

Our roads are in horrible shape. The golf course loses over $1 million per year, and the Conference Center is too expensive for the residents to rent.

Recent lawsuits have revealed that the town wrongfully handled sewer rate increases and must refund money.

What’s the real story?

A Superior Court Judge recently rejected a similar water takeover by the City of Claremont, and it cost the people of that nearby city over $14 million in legal fees alone.

In the City of Felton, water rates have risen over 67 percent since the city took over their water services from a private company.

When was the last time you heard about government doing a better job of running a business than the business itself?

Should government be taking over businesses that are well run and provide an important service? That sure seems like a threat to the free enterprise system.

Given the Town of Apple Valley’s questionable financial track record and history, a default on $150 million in bonds is a looming financial disaster that we, the voters, need to avoid.

Join me in voting No on Measure F.

— Diana J. Carloni is an attorney and Apple Valley resident.

Source: Daily Press