Back in early 2018, the Town of Apple Valley’s annual audit revealed several areas of concern (“Audit addresses Apple Valley’s financial issues,” Daily Press, March 10, 2018). Newly hired Town Manager Doug Robertson told the Daily Press he had asked each department “to come up with 10% reduction across the board,” promising, “we will have a balanced budget for FY 18-19.” Yet two years into Robertson’s cost-cutting program, the town is asking for a tax increase to pay for budget deficits (“Town Council vote puts 1% sales tax increase on ballot in Apple Valley,” Daily Press, July 29, 2020).
Before throwing good money after bad, voters should ask “What cost-cutting has the town implemented so far?”
Town spending in FY 2017-18 was 15% lower than FY 2016-17, so subsequent annual 10% cuts should have worked wonders. Instead, the town spent 10% MORE in FY 2018-19, and then a staggering 29% more in FY 2019-20. In other words, the town went from a “too high” budget of $51 million in FY 2017-18 to the FY 2019-20 $73 million spending level after two years of budget cuts. That’s a 42% ($22 million) increase in just two years. Apple Valley residents who lived through the disastrous Marc Puckett years of rampant innumeracy will no doubt feel a sense of déjà vu.
It’s worth remembering that many of those now in office have also promised to cut or stabilize our water rates should the town prevail in the eminent domain case against Liberty Utilities.
Every taxpayer in Apple Valley must vote against any increase in local taxes. Even when the town knows it is in financial difficulty, it spends yet more. Stop rewarding this behavior.
Greg Raven, Apple Valley
Source: Daily Press