Monday, May 03, 2010
City Will Borrow And Spend $140 Million Regardless Of Whether Citizens Deal Is Approved
It's always been a part of the proposed sale of the water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy that has seemed a little fuzzy. I'm talking about the $140 million the City expects to receive from Citizens in the form of payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) to help finance streets and sidewalk improvements. Mayor Ballard's Chief of Staff, Chris Cotterill, tells the Star's Francesca Jarosz that the City will borrow at least that amount of money to pay for these public improvements regardless of whether the Citizens' sale is approved. That's no small amount of money. Keep in mind that some of those projects could be matched with federal funds. Regardless of whether the sale goes through, the funds to pay the debt service on the bonds is coming out of the utility's pocket. Let's avoid the inevitable tax increase that will come in the form of higher utility rates that Citizens will have to levy in order to finance the debt service on the additional funds Mayor Ballard has proposed the utility pay to the City to finance even more public infrastructure improvements and remove that $263 million payment from the City. It will save Indianapolis ratepayers at least 30% in higher utility rates. For once, let's think about what's good for average people and not city contractors and political contributors.