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Mayor unveils infrastructure-improvement plan details

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Mayor Greg Ballard on Tuesday provided details of his plan to upgrade city infrastructure by using revenue from an expected $425 million sale of the city’s water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy Group.

In early April, IBJ reported that Ballard planned to use the funds from the utilities' sale to improve residential streets and sidewalks, similar to how Gov. Mitch Daniels supported his Major Moves transportation program by leasing the Indiana Toll Road for $3.8 billion.

The largest project on the city’s planned list of improvements is a $3.8 million resurfacing of 82nd Street between Allisonville Road and Interstate 69.

Also, 46th Street will get major improvements, including a $1.6 million project to replace curbs and sidewalks and to resurface the road between College and Keystone avenues, and a $1.5 million resurfacing project between Keystone and Emerson avenues.    

In addition, a portion of the city’s planned investment will be used to demolish abandoned homes that pose a public safety threat to neighborhoods, the mayor said in a prepared statement.

“Moving forward with the planned improvements will not correct all of the infrastructure problems facing our city,” Ballard said. “However, this investment represents an unprecedented effort and a significant boost for all areas of the city.”

The City-County Council must approve any final agreement with Citizens Energy. The proposal then will go before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

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  • Non Preforming Asset
    I think that it is a smart move to get ride of the non preforming asset and turn the dollars into foundational reinvestments that will directly create preforming assets, Return on Investment. The water dollars need to be reinvested into 21 st century infrastructure. Yes, sidewalks but this is just an expense. They really need to be spent on the bio swells, green roofs and Green infrastructure, of new buildings, leveraging more State, Federal and but most importantly more Private Reinvestment, to create comprehensive community redevelopment, at location that will create the New Jobs resetting the foundations of the centers of our communities and their corridors. These financial economic plans are proven to save money and making money from the reinvestment, creating new preforming assets. When this is managed correctly the new property tax from the increased redevelopment, which is far cheaper than continually building farther and farther out pays back the to the City and the State multiply times over, and over, and over. We as citizens need to support the economic development team so they will do the right thing, create long term sustainability for our City!
  • Where did street repair $ go?
    Street maintenance responsibilities didn't just crop up because of this Water Co. deal.
    Where's the money normally budgeted for repairs each year in the City budget? They're sure as hell not spending it on street repairs!
  • water & sewer infrastructure
    It would only make sense to reinvest this money into water and sewer infrastructure only. After all, Indianapolis laggs many cities in that regard. I don't think this money (if deal is inked) should be used for sidewalks and some pet projects. Those are "sexy" projects (but help you stay in the office).

    Per some estimates, we need to invest $4 billion in the next 15 years (which would require 400% rate increases). Ballard won on anti-debt, anti-tax campaign. It makes sense since most people want free stuff, and have unrealistic expectations. I hope our mayor will give up populism, and start investing in the infrastructure (which will require rate/tax hike).
    • details, details
      There still seems to be a lot that needs to be clarified. The taxpayers/ratepayers are on the hook to pay for the sewer upgrades, thus a large increase.

      The City really has no business of owning and attempting to operate the water company. They simply don't have the resources or personnel to do it. Regardless, rates are going to go up. All the details of the financing need to be laid out. Right now we just have to take their word for it. With a number of other "deals" that have turned out bad for taxpayers, it's no wonder some are skeptical.

      Copying Daniels Major Moves model is not a good idea. Gov. Daniels and INDOT have all the money, and it's a shell game where the promised money will show up. INDOT promised a lot of projects, only to cancel or "defer" them.

      Let's get some real transparncy before we move forward. Plus let's get some reality into the money it takes to run the city. At some point we have to pay for all the services we expect.
    • 16th St.
      Could west 16th get a little attention, please. Being that it's a major route between downtown and IMS, you would think that we could put some effort into making it a bit more pleasant looking. Right now it's downright embarrassing.
    • Just Say No
      How do you think Citizens is going to come up with several hundred million for city payments and billions in necessary infrastructure improvement?

      The MOU states that they want to sell bonds on future payments in lu of taxes to get the $425 million upfront.

      Additionally the residential water and sewer rates are scheduled to increase 900% to meet the EPA's billions in unfunded sewer overflow settlement including more increases to pay for the water company purchase.
    • Water Co
      Uncommon cents - Where do you get your information. It makes no sense or cents....
      Citizens Energy would be giving an advance of the water revenues. That is NOT a loan. And that also does not equate to a 900% increase. Sheesh, get your facts straight please.
      • Whats the deal?
        Didn't Andre and the Mayor recently tout how the federal government has given Indianapolis tens of millions in grants to tear down old homes and build sidewalks?
      • How about just keeping the water company?
        Let me get this straight, the Mayor wants to sell the taxpayer owned utility to a non-profit for nearly nothing and borrow hundreds of millions from this same utility to pay for tearing down homes?

        It doesn't take much thought to see taxpayers are being given a loan, to give away a asset ,so water ratepayers can get scheduled bill increases, and have the money redirected away from required improvements in the sewer and water infrastructure, so someone can get re-elected, and campaign donors can profit.

        Giving away taxpayer assets and building debt might win elections but it doesn't keep water water bill from raising 900% or fix the water problem.

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