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Waterworks proposes 35-percent rate hike

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The Indianapolis Department of Waterworks today unveiled a capital-improvements proposal that would raise water rates for the average residential customer by 35 percent, or $8 a month.

The proposed projects totaling $111 million were filed with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, which must weigh whether to approve all or part of the amount. That could take a year.

The largest single infrastructure project amounts to $31.9 million in general distribution-system improvements over 4,264 miles of water mains.

The department also wants to spend $27.5 million to build an alternative intake for the White River Treatment Plant northwest of downtown. Currently, most of the plant’s water comes from White River in Broad Ripple, via the 7-mile Central Canal.

The department seeks an alternative source in the event the canal or a key dam on the White River happens to fail, and as a backup during maintenance. The canal system would still be the primary source, as it moves water by gravity versus the need for a pumping station.

An additional $1.1 million is sought to make improvements to the dam on the White River, resulting from damage to its concrete apron last February.

The other big capital request is $23.2 million to add water-disinfection systems at the department’s other water plants to comply with stricter Environmental Protection Agency mandates.

Earlier this year, the city won a 12-percent emergency rate hike from the IURC, having initially sought nearly 18 percent. The emergency hike was the fallout of a failed bond refinancing strategy undertaken by the city a few years ago that put the bulk of the water utility’s debt in variable-rate bonds. Costs soared after the meltdown of financial markets last year.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard this summer sought ideas on how to reduce costs of the city’s water and sewer systems. The city has received proposals ranging from selling the utilities to Indianapolis-based Citizens Energy to various new management schemes by private firms.

If approved as submitted, the average monthly residential bill would rise to $31.33 from $23.22.
 

 

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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