By issuing “voluntary environmental improvement bonds,”, local and state governments could
create special taxing districts that finance homeowner purchases of everything from solar panels to rain
The city too often relied on the Department of Waterworks’ board, on consultants and on the private
operator, Veolia Water, rather than on the department’s own staff “to ensure safe and efficient
operation, maintenance and management” of Indianapolis Water. That’s one of several critical
findings of a consultant hired by the department and filed as part of a 35-percent rate-hike request
pending before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
Officials grappling with a water utility deep in debt and a sewer infrastructure needing upwards of $2 billion in
upgrades were swamped with proposals about how to fix the mess.
Among 23 firms that have expressed interest in operating Indianapolis’ water and sewer systems is Macquarie, the Australian
firm that operates the Indiana Toll Road under a 75-year, $3.8 billion lease. In July, the city asked companies to express
interest in operating the systems.
Already swamped with higher debt costs due to a bond refinancing fiasco, the city’s Department of Waterworks is asking
the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to OK a rate hike to pay for capital projects.
A bottled water plant is expected to open in central Indiana next year, with the company planning to buy about 300,000 gallons
of municipal water daily.
Customer groups say an 18-percent rate hike sought by the Indianapolis Department of Waterworks is excessive even for a utility
drowning in variable-rate bond debt that’s swelled since financial markets collapsed.
Records show 17 percent of the 51 billion gallons Indianapolis Water treats and pumps from its plants never so much as moves
a digit on customers’ water meters.