APPLE VALLEY – The Town of Apple Valley expressed dismay regarding the Liberty Utilities intent to raise water rates nearly 5 percent. The increase notice came only days after Measure V, which was heavily funded by Liberty Utilities, passed. The increase of 4.88 percent would take effect on January 1, 2017. Town officials said that the passing of Measure V will also it more difficult for the community to buy the water system.
“The gall of these people never ceases to amaze me,” said Mayor Barb Stanton. “They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an election to make it more difficult for the town to buy the system and then they hit us with a rate increase.”
Town officials believe that the timing of the Liberty Utilities filing for the rate increase was dishonest and not in the best interest of residents. “This is extremely dishonest. Liberty knew this increase was coming,” said Town Manager Frank Robinson. “ It seems they deliberately held off on sending a public notice until after the election because they knew it would hurt Measure V.”
Town officials said in a Thursday evening news release that the campaign reports show Liberty Utilities spent hundreds of thousands of dollars backing Measure V. Each time the town government wants to issue debt in excess of $10 million for enterprise purposes a citizen vote is required.
The Town of Apple Valley filed an eminent domain action against Liberty, which will require a vote of the people before the acquisition process can be completed. Town officials are disturbed that Liberty Utilities will likely be using ratepayer money in opposition, disregarding the resident’s best interest in the matter.
This will be the third rate increase in the 2015-2017 rate cycle. “Our people cannot afford these outrageous increases,” said Mayor Stanton. “We must continue to fight for local control of our water system.”
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