A better way of life or rotten to the core? Apple Valley has always tried to portray a certain image. They have always spent much time and money on “PR”. So what is going on here? We went from having millions in reserves and always seemed to be able to pay our bills and provide the services that were needed. Now we are borrowing money to pay for current services. We are a city getting a pay day loan. What type of people use pay day loan services? Most of the time it is someone who is desperate, bad with money and they are in financial trouble. It is safe to say Apple Valley is in financial trouble but how we take care of this problem will determine if the city goes bankrupt.
How did we get here? Well the current council is the primary cause. Going back many years now the town started down the path of trying to take over Liberty Water. Liberty is only one of a number of private water companies who provides water to parts of Apple Valley. During this process the council had dozens of closed session meetings talking with their BB&K lawyers and staff. Contrary to what the council is currently saying, the council was told many times the true costs involved in this water acquisition. But this isn’t anything they disclose to the public. AV is screwed up – just check out the Presentation to the Town Council on April 25, 2017 by the now disgraced
Assistant Town Manager Marc Puckett on “How the Town will finance the purchase of the water system. Puckett is not disgraced just because of the wreck he was involved in. He is disgraced because of his very poor handling of AV’s finances that have put us on the verge of bankruptcy. And yet AV still has his presentation on their web page justifying the acquisition of Liberty.
On the same web page the then Mayor Scott Nassif says Liberty does not have to be transparent but the town does and everything the town does is done in public. This is where we hit the big lie. In closed session the AV council has approved the spending of millions and millions of tax payer dollars on the acquisition. All done in secret behind closed doors, not in public as the dimwit Nassif says. Here is where the millions in reserves have been spent with full knowledge and approval of the inept council. The former town manager Frank Robinson told the council repeatedly over many years the water acquisition was going to cause financial problems for the town. Again, this was done in closed session where the public does not get to see what goes on. Now that AV is approaching bankruptcy the council has taken to blaming the former town manager Robinson quietly. The new town manager Doug Robertson has also taken to blaming Robinson and past administrators but no one blames the council. Our sources tell us the total the council has spent on the acquisition is over $8 million and growing. The town says publicly they have spent just over a million. Our sources say the council has refused all attempts in providing the real number. The council knows unless this acquisition of Liberty is finalized in the next 2 years the town will be forced into bankruptcy over the mounting legal costs.
The entire AV council needs to be thrown out. They have not been honest about the Liberty water issue from the start. Virtually everything has been a lie. The council has ordered the staff not to cooperate with any requests from the press about the cost of the litigation. Steve Hunt at the daily press is in league with the council so he will not demand the actual costs.
Here is what the council purposely lied about to push the acquisition forward.
- AV has greatly undervalued what the system is worth.
- AV has no one with experience at running a water system.
- AV has estimated bond costs at a maximum of 4.5%. With the current fiscal crisis they will not be able to get low rates as AV’s credit rating has surly drooped.
- Liberty can easily drag out this litigation. AV will run out of money well before Liberty does.
- The $11 million AV identified that could be used debt service on bonds is actually money that is to be used on system upgrades and equipment replacement as well. This information was provided by Puckett so it is questionable at best.
- The council knows rates will have to go up 20% or more but have not let anyone outside the town staff know.
- The council knows this information will leak out over the next year. They are trying to make it past this November’s election.
Liberty is a horrible company and it would be best if they were gone, but that is not going to happen. The question now is how is it good for AV to bankrupt the town in a futile attempt at the Liberty take over?
We don’t plan to vote for any incumbents. Fellow voters in Apple Valley would be wise to only vote for candidates who will promise to take a fresh look at the Liberty take over.