IS IT TRUE November 27, 2012


The Mole #??

IS IT TRUE Evansville has had a dog park that was built with private money in an existing park for over 10 years?…in this 10 years time the dues paying membership ($30 per year) peaked at 200 and is now at only 100 members?…that means they collect a whopping $3,000 per year in what is a land subsidized free market dog park?…100 dog owners constitutes slightly less than 0.1% of the population of Evansville that is using this park after 10 years?…the obvious conclusion is that a dog park that requires a drive to utilize will only be used by a scant minority of the population and is therefore a poor use of public funds?…this dog park very much resembles the 1 acre chain link dog parks in the Denver dog park plan published by the City County Observer a few weeks ago?…the cost to chain link an acre in an existing city park is well under $20,000 per park and can easily be absorbed by dog owners without taking money from non-dog-owning taxpayers to subsidize recreational facilities for Bowser and his pals?…if Evansville is to have dog parks the best plan of action is to allocate areas of existing parks and offer individuals the opportunity to contribute to a dog park fund for their neighborhood parks?…spending large sums of money to build a drive to dog park is a ridiculous misappropriation of public funds?

IS IT TRUE that even in the cold of November when there has not been any significant rain for weeks that the smell of what happens when the sewer does not do its job permeates Bee Slough, the south side, and right around Roberts Stadium as though a fresh dump was made this morning?…that eliminating this smell, the health issues that accompany it, and the lost commercial opportunities that happen when site selectors or corporate executives get a whiff of that jiff is looming as a $500 Million+ expenditure that will be borne by the taxpayers of Evansville?…this expense is not really negotiable and the failure of the City of Evansville to come up with a serious plan in the two years granted to do so may re-start the expensive fines levied on Evansville by the EPA during the Weinzapfel Administration?…the planning at this point could be and should be complete to the point that the EPA could evaluate and pass the plan that should be submitted 3 days from today?…rather than get on with the business of planning and spending the necessary $500 Million to become a functional city the government of Evansville has dallied and danced building a $127 Million temple to sport, is resubmitting a plan to spend about $50 Million to read the water meters through a fiber optic network, spending nearly a million bucks to tear down a perfectly good facility, contemplating a $10 Million dog and skateboard park, and are poised to ask the City Council for over $20 Million for a downtown hotel subsidy within sniffing range of Bee Slough?…just the non-essential spending for fun and games during the last 4 years and spanning two administrations now exceeds $200 Million and is rising?…the money spent on fun and games could have been used to ring Evansville up to the water and sewer standards of the 1970’s, BUTT NO, that is not the choice that our elected officials made for us?…the government of the City of Evansville has once again chosen the cheap thrill of fun and games over substance?…that this goes a long way to explain why our best and brightest of all ages vote with their feet and vacate Evansville in record numbers?…if pissing away the money needed to do the basic things that we expect of local government offends you the it is incumbent upon you as citizens to let your elected officials know what you think of paying for fun and games when the toilet is broken?

IS IT TRUE that the Winnecke Administration has quietly made a few changes totaling less than $10 Million to former Mayor Weinzapfel’s last folly in office better known as the Johnson Controls contract?…it has been resubmitted to the IURC for approval to move forward to spend yet more taxpayer money on a non-essential function?…the CCO will be posting the resubmission in a matter of a few days for our readers to evaluate?…the fun and games just never seem to stop in the city that always seems to be asleep at the wheel?


  1. The Basic Instinct of “Fight or Flight”, is where this continuing level of Poor Leadership, hits the population the hardest. Reality? Stay and Endure this ongoing insanity, or Run for the hills? That is THE question that has the taxpayer’s attention. Flight,–not Fight,is the “Seed” STILL being planted by Evansville’s own,…..Low-Quality Aristocracy!

    • If indeed Evansville’s leadership is dominated by “Low-Quality Aristocracy,” then what exactly comprises Evansville’s “Common Folk?”

      • A 19 year property tax phase-in (I guess that 20 years sounded too over the top) and a NO CLAW-BACK provision if PTI does not meet the benchmarks spelled out in the incentive contract?

        Ron may be the nicest guy on the planet but any number of factors could cause him to sell the business at any time, at which time the new owner would be the recipient of all this largess. That would be a handy selling point now wouldn’t it?

        City Council members should not be in the business of picking and choosing who in Evansville succeeds in business. All incentive packages should have automatic claw-back provisions in them and none of the property tax phase-in should run for more than 10 years maximum.


        • City Councils matter. The people sitting in those seats matter. When those people screw up, the consequences can be devastating. Just ask the people of San Bernardino.


          In July 2012, San Bernardino became the largest city ever to choose to file for protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code. The case was filed on August 1.

          San Bernardino is the poorest city of its population size in California, and the second poorest in the US next to Detroit, Michigan.


        • The claw back Memorandum of Understanding was waived because GAGE negotiated the initial deal with PTI without mentioning it. Essentially, the company had already started spending money on training and then was presented with the MOU. GAGE had spoken with 7 of the 9 council members in getting tentative approval for the deal that was offered to PTI. I was not one of them. GAGE is now on notice that claw backs are to be part of any deals. I agreed it was the right thing to do under the circumstances. The fact that we have a draft MOU to use for future deals is great progress over the past. We are moving in the right direction, and I think most of council recognizes the importance of the potential to claw back incentives.

          • Stephanie–Who is responsible for this at GAGE? Why did they not have a CLAW-BACK in the Agreement? Ron Romain should do what is right thing and volunteer to put the CLAW-BACK into the agreement even though he does not have to.

            • When GAGE does something stupid it is usually due to politicians on the board meddling with things. The presidency of GAGE was designed to be a figurehead puppet position. That is why it has been a revolving door. Maybe they have finally found their lapdog for life in Debbie Dewey.

              • Well ET, what you state about political meddling at GAGE was certainly the case in the last year I was there. Before that it was good with a lot of positive potential being established. I hope they can get back to that someday. I have never met Mrs. Dewey so I don’t know about your last sentence.

      • They are the “Payees” so to speak. You know them, as the soon to be part-owners of a Hotel, and who also will hold title to a Very Expensive $$ Dog Toilet, but that matchs somewhat the Taxpayer’s interest $$ in the Pigeon Coop McCurdy.

        • They also are the candidate pool, electors, and constituents of the “Low-Quality Aristocrats.”

      • Illiterate Morons, Stooges, Oblivious Dolts, and other assorted descriptors of a gaggle of mindlessness that keeps electing people from the bottom of their own gene pool.

  2. Funny,—the Idealism of Youth,–then I was convinced that, when the Kids we were, grew up and took our turn at bat, all things would get better,–but Politics, Power, and Greed still prevail. What a Silly Boy!

  3. Jenny Collins is still on the City payroll making double than most in the Civic Center. Welcome to Evansville, where when you F up, you move up!

  4. The council should make it known that no projects will recieve $$$$ until the plan for sewers is on track and correction is in progress, and the books are open and complete. The mayor and past mayor are out of touch with reality and need a good shakin’.

  5. I think there is a lot of confusion as to the impact of the CSO mandated projects. In some areas, these projects will actually increase the smell of the sewer. Take the Roberts Stadium area for example. This is my neighborhood. The sewer pipes are largely level and the primary pipe is 60 inches. They need rain to function. It actually takes millions of gallons to flush the pipes and move the sewage up Weinbach to the lift station. Projects such as rain gardens, green sidewalks, etc. will reduce the amount of rain that goes into the system. The net effect is that there is less overflow into Pigeon Creek, but there is also less water to move the raw sewage. When we don’t get enough rain, the sewage sits in the pipes, and the gasses separate from the solids, which leads to the smell. The drier the season, the worse the smell. My neighborhood will probably smell worse after the project than before if enough rain is captured through methods described above. We would be much better off with capture tanks at the end of the line than more green infrastructure. Either way, when there’s no rain, the stench can be overpowering. I met with the Sewer Department engineers, who were wonderful in giving me information, but I was incredibly disappointed to discover just how bad the situation is, with or without these CSO projects. Basically, a lot of our sewer system needs to be replaced with smaller pipes that are angled to take advantage of gravity. None of this type of work is being addressed with the CSO mandated projects. We can’t even take advantage of some new technology that deals with smell because of how level the pipes are in the Roberts Stadium area. Ultimately, we need a lot more money that a few hundred million. The problems are more in the billion dollar range. There’s a lot of rate increases in the future. I am at least heartened that the engineers we have are very good and Allen Mounts is a more than capable leader for them.

    • Gravity is not a newfangled invention, it is one of those things that has been around as long as the earth and solar system has existed. Most of life on earth has adapted. Even dumb animals know better than to piss into the wind. If what you state is true and it certainly sounds like it has merit then it seems like the best course of action would be to build the use of gravity into the sewer repairs is something that needs to be on the drawing board right now.

      The CSO as you correctly point out is to keep raw sewage out of the Ohio River and may not solve the “aroma” problem that plagues much of the City of Evansville. That “aroma” problem is more of a repellent to outsiders with jobs and money considering a relocation to that area than the occasional discharge into the river. Our lawsuit may be settled for $500 M but it sounds to me like our real problem of “aroma” may just be a Billion. Good Catch!! Please spread the word so we do not half do another job.

      • I thought Ms. Riley pointed out the pertinent local drawback to gravity flow sewer systems very well … FLAT GRADE.

        Evansville is built on a floodplain. Floodplains are flat. Therefore the sewer lines are laid on a flat grade.

        The interior surface of sewer pipe possesses a friction factor. Friction hangs turds. Solids that hang in the line require high volumes of liquid to flush the solids along the flat pipe grades and onward thru the system.

        If there are insufficient volumes of liquid, either due to extended drought or those dumbass modern low flush toilets we are mandated to install, then turds hang up in mass quantities and stink to high heaven.

        Ms. Riley spoke to all of this in her post. The solutions to suffiently address the stench problem are very limited in a gravity flow system installed at flat grades.

      • I’m confused….

        Ms Riley is talking about dry seasons and rain water helping wash sewage through the pipes but it’s been my understanding that other than the areas of the city that the CSO is addressing rain or run off water isn’t allowed in the sewers that carry….well, sewage? (Isn’t that the whole purpose of the CSO projects? to separate storm water from the sewers?)

        I live in the 2nd ward and my house was built in the ’40’s at that time gutters on every house dumped into the sanitary sewer same as all other drainage so I do understand the need for the CSO projects to separate drainage water (storm sewers) from sanitary sewers (waste water). It has always been my understanding that adding rain water or drainage water to the sanitary sewer messed up the treatment process because of the dilution of the solids and the added volume of water not in need of treatment before sending it to the river.

        I thought I was told at one time that during heavy rains where we had day after day of rain that the treatment facility (s) were actually bypassed because of the length of time it took to get them back operational sending diluted raw sewage and rain water directly into the river. (correct?)

        What am I missing?


        • The CSOs (combined sewer overflows) are outfitted with a weir that diverts the low flow in the combined sewers to the treatment plant. When the high flow during as storm overtops the weir, the excess volume of combined raw sewage and storm water spills out into Pigeon Creek and the Ohio River at 15 or so points (CSOs).

          You are correct about the need for the CSOs to spill out the excess storm water, because it would overload the treatment facility. The EPA is mandating the separation of the storm and sanitary sewage flow to eliminate contamination of public waterways.

          What the rain gardens and all that other green infrastructure does is reduce the storm water flow to the combination sewers. That is just a stop-gap measure toward limiting the overflow from the CSOs during heavy rainstorms. The longterm fix is to totally separate the storm sewers from the sanitary sewers, but that’ll take 30 years or longer, so in the interim, we get all these intermediate green contraptions.

          What the engineers told Ms. Riley basically is that the interim, stop-gap green infrastructure is reducing the storm water run-off into the combination sewers to the extent that the turd jams are not being washed out into Pigeon Creek and the Ohio River like used to happen, and the neighborhoods served by the combination sewers are stinking more than used to be.

          • I agree, that’s a good explanation of what’s happening. Evansville isn’t the only City with this problem. The EPA mandate is going to challenge many older US cities’ budgets to the breaking point. Evansville had a chance to get out in front of this problem a long time ago and limit the costs dramatically, but our leadership has so far failed us in that regard.

            We have until 2032 or 2037 at the latest to get this done. Consolidation failed, so costs will be borne by Evansville City residents and property owners. I think the $500 million estimate is low because that’s priced in 2009 money. God knows what the price tag will look like in 20 years.

          • By the way, just to put this looming liability in perspective, the BEST case scenario of $500 million split between the approximately 163,000 men women and children using the sewer system is $3067.00 EACH!

            That is assuming the costs don’t balloon past the 2009 estimate, that inflation won’t be a factor over the next 20-25 years, and that the population of Evansville will stay about the same.

            It’s clear that either A) taxes will have to increase for Evansville residents, B) annexation or consolidation will be needed to widen the tax base and spread the load, or C) wasteful spending will need to decrease dramatically.

            I think if you took a poll, most would agree that cutting wasteful spending on things like temples to sport, dog parks, and baseball fields would be preferable to other options.

          • I think your assumption is incorrect that the entire cost of meeting the EPA mandate will be borne only by City of Evansville taxpayers.

            My impression has been that the county-out sewer use fee payers suffer a 35% surcharge imposed by the city water and sewer utility specifically to pay the cost of upgrades, most of which have and will occur inside the city limits. This has been and will continue to be a bone of contention for county-out rate payers.

    • You should be commended for seeking out and understanding pertinent information from technical advisors and civil engineers in the water and sewer department. I wish more council members and commissioners had such gumption and follow-thru.

    • Removing all odors from a combined sewer system is going to be almost impossible. I’m not sure why anyone would have designed a system in which pipes didn’t take advantage of gravity from the beginning, but if that’s what we have, that’s what we have to deal with.

      There are some things that can be done to help minimize the smell in problem areas like adding magnesium hydroxide or ferrous sulfate to the system.

      Also, people could simply flush more, or as they often do anyway, the City could open up fire hydrants to flush the system. Conservation efforts and efficient toilets have been held to blame in older cities like San Francisco where they have a similar problem with smells on their waterfront where gravity alone can’t flush the system due to grade.

      Any older City is going to have some sewer issues where combined systems are used. The fact that Evansville has decided to built temples of sport rather than update its basic infrastructure is more odious than the sewer smells in question.

      Here is a good article talking with the Washington D.C.’s water program manager on the subject of smells:

    • Ms Brinkerhoff-Riley,

      First, thank you for commenting on this site. Your genuine intent on information sharing is very evident and much appreciated.

      As others have stated here, the transport of water plus solids is basic physics. An investment in sewers with moderate slope, lift stations with accurately placed and adequately sized mechanical treatment to facilitate transport(grinders), and automated chemical/water flood based techniques is the best long term solution.

      Again, as previously requested, for the health of the City please begin an austerity campaign (no dog park + hotel welfare!) based on this looming issue. I now live in the County, but having lived most of my life within the City, I hate what is happening with regard to peddling the future of this to special interest groups and foolish projects. It’s too blatant to be incompetence.

  6. The dog park at Kleymeyer needs to be moved so that 8 ball fields can be constructed on this lot. We already had the opportunity to build go-karts and batting cages on the site in the 80s until then parks director McClintock balked at it. The ball fields will help address and revitalize the entire district around it, not just a 1 acre lot in a free park.

    • What sort of ball fields in Kleymeyer Park would “revitalize the entire district around it?”

      When adult softball was at it’s zenith back in the late 80s thru the 90s, those fields, as well as all the other fields in town, were utilized to the max., and I don’t remember the area around Kleymeyer being any more “revitalized” then than it is now. The softballers basically hung out in the parking lots and tanked up on Busch Light before hitting the bars in some other part of town a closer crawl to home.

      But you may be right. Maybe there are other ball leagues that would fill some sort of ball fields at Kleymeyer to over-capacity. Please tell us what sort of ball leagues those are, and what the spin-off commercial growth or other specific “revitalization” would occur nearby.

  7. Thanks to Councilwoman Brinkerhoff-Riley for the explanation of the mysterious smell near the Boeke / Lloyd intersection. I live in this area also, and have always wondered why it seemed to smell WORSE the drier it got. Now I know! It would never have occurred to me that slope was not built into the piping system.

    I also was optimisitic that eliminating the many acres of hardscape in the Roberts Stadium area would help alleviate some of the pressure on our overstressed sewer system by reducing the amount of rainwater introduced into it. Still the case, but apparently the unintended consequence is more stinkiness…


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