Tuesday, March 03, 2009

66% Hike In Sewer Fees Planned

If they don't raise your taxes, they'll get it from you through higher fees for city services. Indianapolis sewer fees were more than doubled last year. Now a plan is headed to the City-County Council to raise sewer rates 66% over the next four years. That's in addition to the 20% emergency rate increase sought by the Indianapolis Water Company on top of a general rate increase to pay for the absolutely insane decision by former City Controller Robert Clifford and Mayor Bart Peterson to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars using variable rate bonds which are now costing us over 9% interest. The Peterson administration purchased the water company for at least double what it was worth and then incurred another $300 million in debt for capital improvements, saddling taxpayers with more than $800 million in debt. The City is rushing the second $750 million phase of a 20-year plan to abate combined sewers from dumping untreated sewage into waterways, ostensibly to have a shot at using federal stimulus dollars for the project. The pressure is largely coming from the engineers, consultants and lawyers who contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mayor Ballard's campaign committee (they represent more than 90% of the more than $1 million he collected) over the past year who stand to make millions off of the work. As the economy tanks, they are pulling out all of the stops to get your government leaders to spend money on projects to make up for the revenues they are losing from the private sector. Don't always believe what you read in the newspaper.

7 comments:

Attyabdul said...

Actually it's coming from a consent decree the city signed a few years ago to deal with it's sewer and runoff problems. If Indy did nothing it was going to rack up penalties in the millions. If you have a better idea how to deal with this, I'm all ears.

Advance Indiana said...

The consent decree does not require the City to complete the multi-billion dollard project tomorrow. The City won't be fined as long as it sticks to its 20-year plan it presented to federal EPA.

Downtown Indy said...

Something that was decided long before we had to kick in a billion to the stadium and convention center expansion.

Isn't it interesting that a couple percentage points of tax on a small portion of the population will somehow cover a billion dollar construction project (other than maintenance costs, that is), but a 66% 'tax' on virtually EVERYBODY is what it takes to cover this sewer cost?

Advance Indiana said...

Mitch Harper's blog points out that the federal stimulus plan only offers about $128 million in funding for Indiana's CSO projects, which is 1/45 of the more than $4 billion in projects which must be undertaken to remediate CSOs. Indianapolis will jack sewer rates 66% to get a small piece of that funding pie now and then borrow bucketloads of additional money to complete Indianapolis' CSO projects on a faster pace than what is required by the federal consent decree.

Advance Indiana said...

Here's the link to Mitch Harper's post:

http://indiana.typepad.com/fwob/2009/03/the-stimulus-package-contains-some-money-that-will-go-to-indiana-communities-dealing-with-combined-sewer-overflow-cso-remed.html

Advance Indiana said...

Note that Indianapolis jacked sewer rates 17.8% in 2001 to begin these projects before it doubled them last year to fund additional CSO projects.

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

Sounds like the water deal was just a back door way to get more "TAX" from us down the road.

And all the boys walked away with millions of our future money paid to them upfront when they did that water deal.

Is that what this boils down to, Gary?