Friday, April 09, 2010

Ballard Plans To Use Utility Money For CIB Bailout

It was just a matter of time before Mayor Greg Ballard came clean on the real reason he is pushing a sale of the water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy. He now concedes that a major priority in his plan to spend money derived from the sale of the utilities will include economic development, which of course means the Capital Improvement Board. Yes, Ballard will use that money to give a $15 million a year subsidy to the billionaire Simons so they won't take their team to another city. Ballard is already likening his sale of the utilities to Gov. Mitch Daniels' Major Moves deal. The comparison pretty much ends right there. Daniels' Indiana Toll Road deal involved a lease, not a sale of a government asset. If the deal goes south, the taxpayers still own the toll road. The toll road deal netted the state $3.8 billion. If Ballard had bothered to read his MOU he signed with Citizens Energy, he would have figured out that the City of Indianapolis will net no money in the long run from the sale of the water and sewer utilities.

14 comments:

Paul K. Ogden said...

Has this been reported somewhere, Gary. I haven't seen it. I'm not surprised though.

Advance Indiana said...

It has been reported in the media that he plans to spend money on economic development from the sale. One of the stories mentioned the CIB and the convention center as possible beneficiaries of new investments from the sale.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Of course we may not know afterwards what he wants to spend the money on. Therein lies another problem with the sale.

Advance Indiana said...

We keep reading stories about how much the city and local governments are going to lose because of propert tax caps. Yet, Ballard's administration keeps finding more ways to spend the money we already have.

Advance Indiana said...

It's funny hearing Ballard claim that the deal will net the city $426 million. Cary Lykins follows up by reminiding people that his utility is obligated to pay the City only half that amount. He really makes Ballard out to be the liar he is.

Downtown Indy said...

It's not glamorous.

It's not going to improve the bank account of any 'City Leader'

It's not going to provide naming rights to anybody

It's not going to appear in helicopter shots during sporting events

But it would:

a) improve the quality of life for thousands

b) increase property values

c) mark Indianapolis as being serious about having a Clean City

d) be the right thing to do

What am I talking about? CLEANING UP THE ABANDONED CGCU 'COKE PLANT' ON EAST PROSPECT!

It appalls me they want to suck millions out of the operation of our city utilities and not put one penny of it into cleaning up the contaminated, weed-infested hellhole which has blighted the near eastside for decades.

Andy said...

Look. Citizens is the Department of Public Utilities of the City of Indianapolis. It is a branch of City government. Ballard is transfering utilities from two City departments to another City department. He is trying to make it look like a "sale". There is no "profit" if you are selling something to yourself. This is like transfering City parks to DPW and DPW raising sewer rates to pay the Parks Department for the real estate. Only difference is that he doesn't control Citizens and can't be blamed for any of its rate increases.

Why make it look like a sale? He is disguising an additional water rate increase to pay for roads, sidewalks, and the CIB. The only revenue Citizens will have to fund its bonds for the $425 Million is coming from our water rates. They are a non-profit, they don't have cash lying around or investors to fund the deal. Every nickle of the $425 Million is coming from our pockets. This is a tax increase on water and sewer users to create a political slush fund to buy votes with roads and sidewalks. When is the last cash payout of $90 Million scheduled? October 1, 2011- a month before election day. I'm surprised we haven't seen the chicken suits and tea bags.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Yes, I certainly agree with Downtown Indy, Andy, and AA. Mayor Ballard is not merely the hokey dupe of sophisticated money-grubber lawyers and professional politicians, but an obnoxious liar and scoundrel himself. The sooner he is out of office, the better.

Unigov said...

Andy:

"Citizens is the Department of Public Utilities of the City of Indianapolis. "

What ? Where are you getting that idea ?

Cato said...

Why will nobody call these Republicans "thieves" and arrest them for stealing the public's money?

dcrutch said...

I don't want the CIB "bailed out". I don't want slush fund or pseudo slush fund money transfers, obfucated fiscal trails from point X to point Y to point Z. I want understandable city economics. THAT is the mandate that Ballard ran on, and (I believe), compared to what Peterson left us- he did at first with the City budget. Now, because the taxpayers are too aware of the shenanigans of the CIB members, including their conflicts of interest, because of the pressure of the Colts and Pacers to keep the magnitude of their cushy deals intact, we get a professional basketball team bailed out by a change in ownership & mangement of a WATER COMPANY. PLEASE!!!

This is the bull&*%* I would expect of machine politics in Chicago or Louisiana. Shoot us straight on the budget and economics or get the hell out!!! I voted for Mayor Ballard. I donated money to Mayor Ballard. I've defended Mayor Ballard early in his tenure. But, I want the straight shooting story on what we're spending our money and why, or I want somebody else in office.

IF this is true, it's unadulterated crap. I want the ENTIRE story. Not the Willy Wonka golden ticket version I'm going to get from the Indianapolis Star. The WHOLE story on what the hell is going on with this Citizens deal: Who, What, Where, When, Why, How, including what the Mayor's NOT telling us.

I am DAMNED if I'm going to see my water rates go up to fund the Indiana Pacers. I LIKE the Indiana Pacers. But, they have and should have NOTHING to do with my water rates.

What the hell difference is this from nationalizing car companies or expanding health care at the precise instruction of drug and insurance companies behind closed doors?

If there was ever an America for taxpayers it has been lost to America the oligarchy.

dcrutch said...

Instead of this pretense of a free enterprise Democratic Republic, let's just go back to simpler days. How about if we just return to toiling in the fields, and when the King's men ride by on horseback, we just hoist-up a couple of sacks of grain for them? They collect- we don't ask questions- life goes on....

Isn't that a much more straight-ahead version of where we're going? If our rulers are going to do what they want anyway, why should we bother? Why should we protest their health care machinations, stealthly grinding deep into the night or behind closed doors? Why should we continue to fret over their devotion to grown adults chasing balls around while only half of IPS children graduate? Our intelligensia have THEIR reasons- that's all we need to know.

We could have adult conversations. We could make tough adult decisions about some issues in our country. Issues that we formerly threw money at and ignored (because for awhile we could): taxation, responsibility, parenting, education, immigration, citizenship, foreign policy....

But, it appears we're not up for the confrontation in societally tackling these issues. It appears we'd rather just keep our heads down and hand over those sacks of grain.

Downtown Indy said...

Well Jim Morris has officially started the begging, tonight on WTHR.

They need money for 'new scoreboard' and 'Wi-Fi'. Excuse me, that's NOT a 'need.' And some unspecified equipment is in need of replacement.

And of course, he claims 'not one penny' is needed for the Pacers themselves.

All this is 'necessary' to ensure the Pacers stay in Indy, the $150millon that either you or Paul Ogden has calculated They'd have to pay to break the lease notwithstanding.

No hardball questioning from Mary Milz in this piece, of course.

The next round of taxpayer raping has officially started.

gary a. isterling said...

i am running for mayor in 2011,indpls indiana.accountability,reduce crime and rebuild the neighborhoods.i need your support..the thought of using the sale of water company to back c.i.b. is a bad idea..keeping the pacers in indy by using tax dollars is not right..we need to work together and we can change these terrible ideas.gary a. isterling.35 years in city-county government,i have seen it all,some good ,but mostly no so good..