I have just received news that the Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the sale of Charlestown’s water utility to Indiana American Water.
You can read the court’s decision here: Water Appeal Ruling
For over a year now we’ve been watching to see if this sale would happen. Many of us have our opinions on the appropriateness of the sale. I do not wish to re-hash all of the sentiments that have dominated our conversations about this important issue.
I do want to note that much of the anxiety, discord, and legal fees could have been avoided had the current administration offered a more transparent process from the beginning.
Once the sale is completed there’s little that can be done, other than hold IAW accountable, which I intend to do. As we move into the election year and people question whether a change of administration is needed, please keep the following in mind:
- The City sold the public water utility without an open bid process. Rather than issue a public bid to interested companies, the city negotiated a sale privately with IAW. This process places Charlestown in a weak position. We deserve a mayor who embraces the open marketplace to ensure the best possible deal for taxpayers in all negotiations.
- The City only advertised the public hearings about the water sale in the fine print of the public notices of the News and Tribune, which is the legal minimum. How many people regularly read these notices? We deserve a mayor who embraces modern technology to keep taxpayers well informed beyond what is only minimally required by law. As mayor I will post such notices on social media, on our electronic signs on Market and Park streets, in City Hall, in mailers when necessary, and in Newspapers as required by Indiana Code.
- The City ignored our legal petition to make this decision by voter referendum. Believing that he knows best, and without regard to the voices of the people who have placed him in office, our current mayor circumvented the remonstrance process after over 1,000 citizens signed a petition to take the sale issue to a vote. We deserve a mayor who is beholden to the people she represents.
Maybe you agree with the sale and are thrilled that the appeal has affirmed the decision. Maybe you were against it from the beginning. Maybe IAW will finally offer what has been neglected for nearly 20 years.
Regardless of your feelings or what steps IAW takes in the coming years, remember that a lack of transparency and disregard for taxpayers’ voices have made this entire process more difficult and costly than it should have been.
In November of this year, elect a mayor who promises to keep you involved and informed, someone who wants to keep Charlestown First.