City’s water deal makes good ‘cents’

As you might know, the city is planning the sale of its water and sewer utility to Citizens Energy Group. We agree with taking the utility private, and Westfield makes a compelling argument for doing so. First and foremost, $91 million in proceeds will more than satisfy the city’s $45 million debt related to the water system. Too, funds will help propel Westfield on the Move, which aims to improve infrastructure; this needs to happen to be ready for the coming growth of the community. To residents, that means new streets, roundabouts, sidewalks and expansion of the Midland Trace Trail. The city says that using property taxes would forestall improvements and would spin off cost increases for homeowners and businesses; we’re not for that. Further, Westfield would receive more than $2 million per year in property taxes from the utility; that’s found money. That money can be deployed for schools and other needs. A new Citizens Utilities of Westfield will have rates based on the operating costs and system
investments necessary in only Westfield, not the costs and investments necessary in Indianapolis, the city says, adding, while the Westfield City Council already has approved rate increases in each of the next five years, Citizens estimates it will be able to reduce rate increases about 16 percent by the year 2020. Citizens has access to nine well fields, three reservoirs and the White River; that equates to sustainability, or security, for residents. Customers would have the convenience of a combined gas, water, sewer and trash bill, with multiple payment options. If this comes to pass, no city employee would be displaced. Seems like a winning proposition to us. Don’t take our word for it. Learn more at informational meetings on Wednesday and next Tuesday (7 p.m. each day) at Oak Trace and Shamrock Springs, respectively.