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Business groups bless Mayor Ballard's utility sale plan

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On The Beat Industry News In Brief

Mayor Greg Ballard has picked up endorsements from two key business groups for his proposal to sell the city’s water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy Group.

The $1.9 billion deal will bring “increased efficiencies, synergies and enhanced professionalism,” said Roland Dorson, president of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber also likes the deal because it considers it a way to achieve long-needed infrastructure improvements.

Also giving a thumbs-up was the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis, which has 620 members representing more than 240 builders. CEO Steve Lains cited benefits to homeowners “while enhancing economic development and job creation.”

Democrats on the City-County Council have denounced Ballard’s sale proposal for removing the vital utilities from city oversight.

Ballard’s administrators, who point to political patronage and questionable oversight of the utilities, are eyeing $450 million in cash from the deal to pay for city infrastructure improvements.

Ballard needs approval of the council and Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

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