Thursday, April 1, 2010

Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee (GIPC) Endorses Water and Sewer Transfer Plan

The Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee (GIPC), a public-private partnership tackling citywide issues for 45 years, has formalized its support of the City of Indianapolis’ Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to transfer water and wastewater utilities to Citizens Energy Group.

The GIPC Board voted unanimously to pass a resolution expressing its endorsement of the utilities transfer, during a special meeting Wednesday, called specifically to address the matter.

“The Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee understands the importance of securing the future of our City’s most valuable assets, the utilities and our infrastructure,” said Deborah Daniels, Chair of GIPC. “By transferring the water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy Group, Mayor Ballard is ensuring consistency and predictability on the part of the utilities, which is an essential tool to attracting new businesses and investment to our city; and creating an innovative solution to the dilemma of our City’s crumbling roads, sidewalks and bridges.”

In addition to supporting the transfer of water and wastewater utilities, GIPC’s resolution encourages members of the Indianapolis City-County Council and several other boards “to act in the best interests of Indianapolis and its residents by approving the transfer.” The motion within the GIPC Board to issue such a resolution followed a presentation and discussion with Mayor Greg Ballard and Carey Lykins, Citizens CEO, regarding the details of the MOU.

"Mayor Ballard and Mr. Lykins provided GIPC board members with information that gave us confidence that this transfer will remove politics from our water and sewer systems while making certain the city meets federal mandates and regulatory standards,” said Ellen Annala, CEO of United Way of Central Indiana and a member of the GIPC Board. “We were convinced that Citizens Energy Group, with its history of serving our community for 123 years, has proven itself as a community partner that operates for the benefit of its owners -- the residents of Indianapolis. Even though it is inevitable that our utility rates will increase in the future, the information provided also convinced us that this transfer will create operating efficiencies that will provide rates that are lower than what otherwise has been projected."

GIPC is a non-partisan, not-for-profit corporation formed for the purpose of improving Indianapolis. Its membership includes more than 100 of Indianapolis’ most engaged business and community leaders. Since its inception in 1965, GIPC has served as a think tank for six Indianapolis mayors. Among countless other initiatives, GIPC successfully led charges for the development of Eagle Creek Park on the city’s Northwest side, and the downtown Indiana Convention Center.

GIPC’s board has, on various occasions throughout the Progress Committee’s history, chosen to endorse specific actions and projects significantly impacting the City’s progress. In summer 2009, GIPC was the first organization to publicly support plans for a new Wishard Memorial Hospital in Indianapolis.

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