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Key vote ahead for utilities transfer

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A plan to transfer the city's water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy Group faces a key vote Monday night at a meeting of the City-County Council.

The council is scheduled to vote on Mayor Greg Ballard's proposal to transfer the utilities in a bid to generate $425 million in cash for infrastructure improvements such as roads and bridges. Members of the council's utility transportation oversight committee OK'd the measure last week.

Citizens, which provides gas, steam and chilled water service to residents in Marion County, says combining the utilities under its umbrella will provide a number of efficiencies and keep rates lower than if the utilities remained in city hands. Ballard announced his plan for the $1.9 billion deal in March.

Several government bodies, including the Indianapolis Board of Waterworks, have blessed the proposal, but it still needs approval of the City-County Council and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. It could take months to get the IURC's blessing.

The city acquired the water utility in 2002 from Merrillville-based NiSource. Indianapolis Water is managed by Veolia, a private firm that would continue to be tapped to help run the utility under Citizens, the city’s gas utility. The extent of that partnership has not yet been specified.

Currently, the water utility has a 33-percent rate hike request pending before the IURC. Citing questionable oversight by the city’s waterworks board and other problems with the water utility, the state’s Office of Utility Consumer Counselor says Indianapolis Water’s rate request should be limited to 17 percent.

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  1. It is nice and all that the developer grew up here and lives here, but do you think a company that builds and rehabs cottage-style homes has the chops to develop $150 Million of office, retail, and residential? I'm guessing they will quickly be over their skis and begging the city for even more help... This project should occur organically and be developed by those that can handle the size and scope of something like this as several other posters have mentioned.

  2. It amazes me how people with apparently zero knowledge of free markets or capitalism feel the need to read and post on a business journal website. Perhaps the Daily Worker would suit your interests better. It's definitely more sympathetic to your pro government theft views. It's too bad the Star is so awful as I'm sure you would find a much better home there.

  3. In other cities, expensive new construction projects are announced by real estate developers. In Carmel, they are announced by the local mayor. I am so, so glad I don't live in Carmel's taxbase--did you see that Carmel, a small Midwest suburb, has $500 million in debt?? That's unreal! The mayor thinks he's playing with Lego sets and Monopoly money here! Let these projects develop organically without government/taxpayer backing! Also, from a design standpoint, the whole town of Carmel looks comical. Grand, French-style buildings and promenades, sitting next to tire yards. Who do you guys think you are? Just my POV as a recent transplant to Indy.

  4. GeorgeP, you mention "necessities". Where in the announcement did it say anything about basic essentials like groceries? None of the plans and "vision" have basic essentials listed and nothing has been built. Traffic WILL be a nightmare. There is no east/west road capacity. GeorgeP, you also post on www.carmelchatter.com and your posts have repeatedly been proven wrong. You seem to have a fair amount of inside knowledge. Do you work on the third floor of Carmel City Hal?

  5. I don't know about the commuter buses...but it's a huge joke to see these IndyGo buses with just one or two passengers. Absolutely a disgusting waste of TAXPAYER money. Get some cojones and stop funding them. These (all of them) council members work for you. FIRE THEM!

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