Apple Valley incorporated in 1988. Our privately-held water company, on the other hand, has provided us water since 1945. And while Apple Valley has its share of problems, no knowledgeable person can honestly say that water delivery, water quality, or water prices are among them.
So when Apple Valley Town Manager Doug Robertson says that seizing the water company is “critical to our future,” clearly the conversation has shifted from water delivery to the fiscal viability of the town itself (“With judge’s ruling, Apple Valley clears hurdle that prolonged acquisition effort,” February 22, 2018).
Concerned citizens in Apple Valley had hoped that with the exit of Assistant Town Manager Marc Puckett, the Town’s books would finally be put in order. Sadly, this is not happening. The Town still produces document after document with simple math errors, and financial reports are either incomplete or abstruse to the point that it is impossible to understand them. The best estimates are that millions of dollars are missing from the Town’s coffers, which would explain why the Town’s reporting is so convoluted, but not why the Town continues to mislead its citizens on financial issues.
Rumor is that the Town raised the sewer and trash rates to help defray the costs of seizing the water company, so in that sense, it would be critical for the Town to prevail.
Of course, the worst accounting screw-ups are still to be examined, those being the faulty reports that the Town can run the water system more efficiently than private industry, and lower water rates.
Whether these are lies or just errors, using hoped-for water revenues to cover up existing malfeasance and misspent funds won’t eliminate the previous problems, and puts our entire town — and water system — at risk.
Greg Raven, Apple Valley, CA
Published: Daily Press, February 27, 2018