Decision would mean spending $100 million-plus to take over private water companies
January 26, 2011 6:51 PM
APPLE VALLEY • The town is once again looking at buying Apple Valley’s two private water companies to form a municipal water district, with mounting concern from residents over rates that have risen an average of 12 percent per year for the past two decades.
The Town Council on Tuesday night authorized staff to update a study launched in 2006 to examine the feasibility of taking over Apple Valley Ranchos and Golden State water companies.
The study predicted it would cost Apple Valley $102.1 million to buy out the companies five years ago. Apple Valley entered into negotiations with Ranchos and Golden State then, town staff reported, but the companies denied early offers and the idea died in 2007 for lack of public support.
However, a number of residents attended Tuesday’s meeting and asked the town to do something about their skyrocketing bills, with senior citizens saying they can’t afford payments and real estate agents speaking about the effect rates will have on development.
One resident, who’s a founding member of the group High Desert Concerned Citizens — created to protest Ranchos’ rates, quoted numbers from a California Public Utilities Commission report on the high salaries of the company’s staff. He said he’s concerned the private companies are worried about profits in a way a publicly owned district wouldn’t be, with the CPUC guaranteeing state-regulated utilities certain profit margins no matter what’s happening with the economy.
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