IBJOpinion

Utility user fees to be diverted

July 3, 2010
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

While no one involved in destroying the finances of the water company, included the supposedly vaunted management team of Veolia has been reprimanded, fired, resigned, dismissed or arrested, an additional [wrong] is being perpetrated on the citizens of Indianapolis by our city-county councilors, Mayor [Greg] Ballard and the board of Citizens Energy, by negotiating a “sale” of the water company to Citizens.

This “sale” will be paid for by borrowing against the water and sewer user fees that should only be used for supporting the delivery of water and sewer services. Instead, over $260 million will be borrowed by Citizens (paid for by our user fees) for a 30-year period, with said funds being deposited in the coffers of the Indianapolis Department of Public Works.

The fees paid to the water company that have already been raised (and are proposed to be raised by more than a third) are now intended to be diverted to repave streets and repair and construct sidewalks.

Of course, we are supposed to be happy about this diversion of user fees because savings have been wrangled from so-called “value engineering” and additional savings have been projected from the synergistic effect of combining the water and sewer utilities under the management of Citizens Energy, a public trust.

Our happiness should occur despite the fact that sewer user fees are projected to rise by 400 percent over the next 10-20 years to pay for the $3.5 billion project related to the combined sewer overflow consent decree and septic elimination program, etc. Any savings that might occur should be reflected in a reduction of the proposed rate increases that water and sewer ratepayers would pay in the future.

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Larry Williams

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

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  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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