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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 deductible is entirely paid by the POWER account. No one ever has to contribute more than $25/month into the POWER account and it is often less. The only cost not paid out of the POWER account is the ER copay ($8-25) for non-emergent use of the ER. And under HIP 2.0, if a member calls the toll-free, 24 hour nurse line, and the nurse tells them to go to the ER, the copay is waived. It's also waived if the member is admitted to the hospital. Honestly, although it is certainly not "free" - I think Indiana has created a decent plan for the currently uninsured. Also consider that if a member obtains preventive care, she can lower her monthly contribution for the next year. Non-profits may pay up to 75% of the contribution on behalf of the member, and the member's employer may pay up to 50% of the contribution.

  2. I wonder if the governor could multi-task and talk to CMS about helping Indiana get our state based exchange going so Hoosiers don't lose subsidy if the court decision holds. One option I've seen is for states to contract with healthcare.gov. Or maybe Indiana isn't really interested in healthcare insurance coverage for Hoosiers.

  3. So, how much did either of YOU contribute? HGH Thank you Mr. Ozdemir for your investments in this city and your contribution to the arts.

  4. So heres brilliant planning for you...build a $30 M sports complex with tax dollars, yet send all the hotel tax revenue to Carmel and Fishers. Westfield will unlikely never see a payback but the hotel "centers" of Carmel and Fishers will get rich. Lousy strategy Andy Cook!

  5. AlanB, this is how it works...A corporate welfare queen makes a tiny contribution to the arts and gets tons of positive media from outlets like the IBJ. In turn, they are more easily to get their 10s of millions of dollars of corporate welfare (ironically from the same people who are against welfare for humans).

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