Wednesday, March 10, 2010

transparency in local government?

when mayor ballard talked about transparency in local government, he must've been referring to the powerpoints he'd use to present his closed-door dealings:

The city is close to selling its water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy Group in a $1.9 billion deal that leaders say would minimize future rate increases and bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to improve roads, bridges and sidewalks.

Today, Indianapolis officials will give details of a nonbinding agreement between the city and Citizens, a public charitable trust that provides gas, steam and chilled water. Under the proposed terms, Citizens would pay Indianapolis nearly $2 billion for the two utilities, which now are owned by the city and run by private operators.

Citizens would acquire Indianapolis' water and sewer utilities and have full control over their operations. It also would become responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in capital improvement projects to be completed in coming years.

City officials touted the benefits of the plan, but some are concerned about the arrangement, which would limit the city's oversight of two integral utilities.

Under the new setup, no local elected officials or their appointees would be responsible for approving or suggesting rate increases. Instead, it would be left up to Citizens' board of directors, who are not accountable to Indianapolis voters, to decide when to seek rate increases and how big they should be. Final say on rate increases would be in the hands of state utility regulators who are appointed by the governor.

so he wants to sell our water & sewers to a utility company, giving up any semblance of oversight, and in exchange we'll get to fill some potholes.

it should be noted that when democrats on the city-county council asked about rumors of a water deal, they were repeatedly told no deal was in the works. transparency!

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