If all goes as projected, the sale transferring the municipally owned utilities to Citizens Energy Group would give residents a break on estimated triple-digit rate increases over the next 15 years."A manageable risk" says Chris Cotterill, who won't even be around to answer questions for the utter costly failure that will most assuredly greet Indianapolis ratepayers. He'll probably be enjoyng his high-paid job he anticipates getting with his former employer, Barnes & Thornburg, for all the millions of taxpayer dollars he and fellow B&T employee, CCC President Ryan Vaughn, have helped steer to the firm in the form of legal work during the corrupt Ballard administration, not to mention the fact that Vaughn's firm represents Veolia, the private operator of the water utility that this deal forces Citizens Energy to keep intact.
If projections miss, residents would see their rates increase above those estimates to pay off hundreds of millions in debt for the sale.
Which scenario plays out depends on whether Citizens, a local nonprofit trust, can follow through on cutting $43 million from the utilities' operations every year.
That's something that can't be known until Citizens takes over the utilities and combines them with its steam, chilled water and gas operations in an effort to find savings.
Past mergers, public and private, have had mixed success. Although Citizens leaders are confident they will achieve the cuts, they offer no guarantees . . .
"If we're wrong about the synergies, we recognize the ratepayers would have to cover those costs. There's no riskless transaction," said Chris Cotterill, Republican Mayor Greg Ballard's chief of staff. "We think that's a manageable risk."
The past is prologue. Nobody can point to a single government merger plan of any sort in this county that has produced a dollar of savings over the past five decades. The only thing we know for certain is that Citizens is being forced to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars it plans to pass on to city ratepayers to fund a massive government works project Ballard and the Republican council want to fund ahead of next year's election to buy votes. City contractors have been lining Ballard's campaign pockets for the past three years and want their pay off and Ballard is all too willing to assuage them. There's a reason the Republican-led council rejected an amendment that would have forced Citizens to ensure rate mitigation as a result of the utilities transfer. They all know it will do the exact opposite. They're just having a good laugh at your expense that they managed to get the Indianapolis Star and the City's so-called "civic leaders" to buy into this massive fraud.
UPDATE: The council approved the utilities transfer tonight by a vote of 19-10, with all Republicans, three Democrats and the lone Libertarian voting for its passage. As I've explained before, this proposal is a massive hidden tax increase on the people of Indianapolis perpetrated by our Republican mayor and Republican council. CCC President Ryan Vaughn steered its passage despite the obvious conflict of interest he has because of the financial stake a big client of his firm--Veolia--has in the deal. Libertarian Ed Coleman proves he is a phony politician who is completely lacking in principle by his vote tonight. As several have noted to me, Coleman is desparately trying to get back in good graces with the Republican Party after abandoning it a couple of years ago. Coleman will never have an opportunity to serve on the council again. Perhaps the best he can hope for is a new job courtesy of his support of this proposal. The three Democrats who voted for it included Jackie Nytes, whose CDC has been rewarded with more than $1 million in grants by Mayor Ballard and whose husband's printing business has been awarded lucrative contracts by Ballard's administration. Mary Moriarty Adams, another Democrat who voted for it, is a county employee. Councilor Paul Bateman, the final Democrat who voted for it, has been under investigation for his role in a now-defunct nonprofit organization. Bateman and others have been accused by a federal bankruptcy trustee of misappropriating more than a million dollars from the Russell Foundation. Like I've said on numerous occasions, city government in Indianapolis is every bit as corrupt as it is in Chicago. The only difference is that Chicago has a prosecutor who will hold the politicians to account for their criminal actions; Indianapolis does not.