Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Two Council Committees Meet Tonight

The Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council has two committees with meetings tonight, both scheduled for room 260 of the City-County Building.

First, at 5:30 pm, the Rules Committee has two items on its agenda - Prop 183 which would put the authority of the Board of Waterworks into the Board of Public Works (and which is likely a moot point since the BofW already supported the sale of the water company to Citizens Energy) -- and -- Prop 196, which is a Council resolution sponsored by Councillor Evans to limit contracts and attendance at conferences in Arizona until that state suspends or repeals its new immigration law.

Then at 6:00 pm, the newly formed Utility Transfer Oversight Committee will be meeting to discuss Prop 197, which authorizes the sale of the sewer and water utilities to Citizens Energy. The City and Council have posted a bunch of information regarding Prop 197:

Exhibit A (19 pages) -- roughly, creates a new Authority to oversee the sewer utility, which would be controlled by Citizens Energy upon the sale of that utility. Interestingly enough, and importantly enough, this document seeks to bar the future sale of the sewer utility to a for-profit entity. This is what the paragraph under "Purpose" says:

In addition to the purposes set forth above, this Agreement provides for (a) the provision of wastewater collection and treatment services through the formation of the Authority as a separate legal entity organized as a nonprofit corporation, (b) the transfer to the Authority of the System as specified in the Purchase Agreement, (c) the delegation and/or transfer to, and vesting in, the Authority of all powers that are necessary, useful or appropriate, except the taxing power and taxing authority of the City and the District, (i) for the acquisition, ownership and operation of the System and/or (ii) for the Authority to have jurisdiction over disposal of sewage, industrial wastes or other wastes and qualifying as a publicly owned pretreatment works within the meaning of the Clean Water Act, in each case, except the taxing power and taxing authority of the City and the District, and (d) the exercise by the Authority of the powers delegated and/or transferred to it herein on behalf of the City, the District and Citizens for the benefit of the inhabitants of the City and the customers of the System in a manner that (x) protects the City and its inhabitants against further sale or disposition of the System, and forever from private ownership, control or partisan political governance; and (y) is coordinated with other utility properties that may be held, owned and/or operated by the Citizens or its affiliates (including the Authority) and (z) is irrevocable.

Exhibit B (84 pages) entitled "Asset Purchase Agreement" -- roughly, is the sales agreement for the sewer utility. A quick perusal finds that the agreement would
-- prohibit the future sale of the sewer utility to a for-profit entity and as an additional safeguard, a grant of the right of first refusal for repurchase of this utility by the City-County (two thumbs up !!)
-- allow NO MORE THAN a 10.75% annual rate hike through 2013 - which through reference much later in the document appears to be the rate hike request now under review by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission
-- an agreement that Citizens Energy will not seek to have the sewer utility placed under the property tax system and thereby jeopardize the PILOT just passed by the Council that I discussed in "City-County Council Should Vote Down Prop 132" and which I will bring up again in another post
-- all for the assumption of debt and a cash payment of $262,600,000

Exhibit C (78 pages) also titled "Asset Purchase Agreement" -- roughly, is the sales agreement for the water utility
-- prohibit the future sale of "Geist Reservoir, Morse Reservoir, the Canal,the South Well Fields, and any other wells or current water sources to the extent such wells or water sources are critical to providing water to the trust beneficiaries" (excellent provision)
--prohibit the future sale of the sewer utility to a for-profit entity and as an additional safeguard, a grant of the right of first refusal for repurchase of this utility by the City-County (two more thumbs up !!)
-- a rate freeze for at least 2 years (until right AFTER the next Mayoral race - coincidence??)
-- the sale is contingent upon the results of the rate hike now before the IURC being "acceptable" (as I understand it from another meeting, it must be acceptable to Citizens Energy or they will not go through with the purchase) and the sale shall not be consummated prior to 6 months after the new rates take affect
-- all for the assumption of debt alone

Supporting document A (7 pages) -- titled "Articles of Incorporation of CWA Authority, Inc.", which is the authority created to assume the assets of the sewer utility and to be run by Citizens Energy

Supporting document B (119 pages) -- the Consent Decree for the remediation of the CSO problem, dated 9-20-06

Supporting document C (75 pages) -- sales disclosure for the sewer utility

Supporting document D (27 pages) -- amendment to the Consent Decree dated June 3, 2010

Supporting document E (1 page) -- a map of the excluded assets of the Belmont treatment plant

Supporting document F (68 pages) -- sales disclosure for the water utility

Supporting document G (31 pages) -- appears to be the 2010 Capital Improvement Plan for the water utility

Supporting document H (1 page) -- map titled "Current System Configuration" showing the location of various features of the water utility with Council Districts overlaid. The south wellfield seems to have been omitted on the map to these eyes.

Supporting document I (1 page) -- flow chart of Veolia's proposed water utility capital improvements, dated 10-17-2008

WHEW !!!!

The Utility Transfer committee members are: Republicans Ryan Vaughn, Marilyn Pfisterer, Bob Lutz, Barbara Malone, Angel Rivera, and Mikes Speedy, and Democrats Joanne Sanders, Paul Bateman, Maggie Lewis, Brian Mahern, and Angela Mansfield.

This committee is set to meet again on July 19 at 5:30 pm in room 260 of the City-County Building.

2 comments:

Indy Student said...

I've gotta work tonight, so I wish everyone luck who can go tonight.

Will the vote for the water/utility sale be on this meeting, or the one later in the month?

I personally think Evans' proposal is kind of dumb, but also not worth dragging myself to a council meeting for.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Councillor Evan's proposal was tabled tonight.

The utility committee will meet again on July 19, and will take more public testimony at that time.