New Information on Charlestown’s Water: City had Funding to Repair

Charlestown water customers received our first full month service bill from Indiana American Water this weekend. I was contacted by a person who was shocked by the drastic increase in their bill. Where previously this family paid $10.61 for 2,900 gallons of water use, their current bill is $35.25 for 2,500 gallons – a 232% increase for 400 gallons less use. Since they live on a fixed income this family is concerned about how they will compensate for this increase once the subsidies offered by the city stop. 

If you aren’t mad about the sale of the water utility you should be. 

For years over 3,000 of us have dealt with dirty, unusable water. 

Take a look. These pictures were taken on April 24 of this year. The picture on the left shows a local business’s water filter after about one month of use next to a brand new filter. The picture on the right shows that brand new filter after it had been installed for about 30 seconds. 

THIS is Charlestown water.

THIS is what over 3,000 of us now pay over 200% more for.

THIS is a major factor in deterring development in our city.

And here’s the rub…the city could have fixed it.

From 2008 to 2018, the city spent $6,438,491 from the TIF fund.

TIF funds are intended for infrastructure improvements that will encourage development. These improvements include roads, drainage systems, and yes, water systems. 

Instead of spending TIF funds to provide citizens with healthy, safe, clean water, Mayor Bob Hall rejected a grant that would have helped build a filtration system and spent TIF money on a variety of other projects instead of repairing our aging pipes. He chose a cheap chemical solution instead – a “solution” that didn’t work. 

I have included as an attachment the evidence to show you how we have all been neglected in the past decade. Here’s what you’ll see: 

  • A summary of all TIF expenditures from 2008 to 2018 broken into broad categories.
  • A more detailed categorical analysis of the “miscellaneous” category in the full summary. 

I could not ask the city to provide me with a total of how much they’ve spent in that time broken into these categories because such information isn’t available. Instead, this data had to be mined from detailed TIF appropriation reports acquired through a public records request. This summary represents hundreds of pages of data analyzed over the last few months and tested for accuracy against financial reports provided to the state by the city. 

Take a look at the summary. What do you see? Do you think the TIF money intended for infrastructure improvements and designed to foster redevelopment has been well spent?

Remember this when you go to the polls: 

The $6.4+ million spent from the TIF fund on things that were NOT water improvements was spent between 2008 – 2018. We’ve had ONE mayor during that 11 year period – and that mayor holds office today and wants us to reelect him. 

If you have Charlestown Water, vote to show how you feel about this betrayal. 

If you do not have Charlestown Water, vote to show you care about those of us who do. 

The water is sold. The increases are here. The subsidies will decline and stop soon. And Indiana American Water will continue to increase rates. 

The only power you have at this point is your vote.

See where your TIF money went here: 2008-2018 TIF Spending Summary

See more detail of the “miscellaneous” category in the summary here: 2008-2018 TIF Misc. Category Summary