Mayor Winnecke Vows to Move Forward with Lesser Johnson Controls Deal Despite IURC Decision


Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke


EVANSVILLE, IN Mayor Lloyd Winnecke announces his response to today¡¦s Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) decision on the Smart City initiative by unveiling his new program, Positive Progress for a Smart City. The Positive Progress for a Smart City initiative, which is expected to create more than 170 jobs and support local business development in Evansville, is an evolution of the previous administration¡¦s initiative.

Positive Progress refocuses the project to maximize economic development opportunities, while investing in our city¡¦s energy, water, network infrastructure, and operational improvements for the Evansville Water and Sewer Utilities (EWSU).

I think it is imperative that the city move forward with this initiative to replace aging infrastructure and automate EWSU water meters to ensure equity in billing by more accurately measuring the amount of water used by utility customers,¡¨ Mayor Winnecke said. ¡§The initiative will not only improve the accuracy of water meters, but more than 90 percent of the dollars spent on this project will stay in the community in terms of materials and labor needed to complete the work.

Local contractors and engineering firms, including minority- and women-owned businesses, will be used to perform the installation and upgrades featured in the initiative. The program was developed in collaboration with Johnson Controls, a global leader in energy efficiency and employer of more than 1,200 Indiana residents.

Investing in Infrastructure:

A state-of-the-art Automated Meter Reading (AMR) system replacing water meters citywide that are more than 5-years-old will enable EWSU to streamline operations as well as bill and collect for actual usage, eliminating the need for outdated, inaccurate, manually-read meters.
¡§For residents, the new automated meters will provide our customers with a way to better understand and measure your home¡¦s water use, eliminate estimated readings, and provide more accurate billing,¡¨ said Allen Mounts, director, EWSU.

Creating Economic Development Opportunities:
The creation of a fiber optic network will support the EWSU’s AMR system and future needs for other voice and data applications. The enhanced fiber optic ring will also be a new economic development tool in the City¡¦s efforts to attract new or expanding businesses that may desire connectivity.

Connectivity is critical in today¡¦s economy and as our region is in the bottom tier for broadband coverage and speed, this initiative will propel us straight to the top,¡¨ stated Greg Wathen, President and CEO of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana. ¡§Only a handful of cities are currently participating in a program comparable to this; and, as far as future businesses become interested in our region, it¡¦s a definite game changer.

Cleaning-up our Waste Water Treatment System:

A new FOG (fats, oils and grease) program will collect fats, oils and grease materials, currently put into the landfill, and use them to create 500 kilowatts (KW) of green methane that will be used to power EWSU facilities.

The Positive Progress for a Smart City initiative differs from former Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel¡¦s Smart City program in that the wireless municipal network portion of the original program has been removed, while the city explores the community¡¦s connectivity needs. The decision coincides with similar feedback the IURC released at its biweekly conference earlier today. The IURC chose not to approve financing of the original contract signed in December of 2011.

Now is the perfect time to support a new approach that focuses on job creation and economic development as we address the City¡¦s and EWSU¡¦s infrastructure needs. That¡¦s something we can all agree on,¡¨ said Mayor Winnecke. ¡§I anticipated the IURC¡¦s concern regarding wireless services as part of the original contract, and our changes are a result of positive negotiations with Johnson Controls. This administration is committed to assessing the community¡¦s need and developing the right solution to address it.¡¨
Pending a review and final approval from the IURC on this new initiative, the contract will be financed and guaranteed through the performance contracting model. With performance contracting, savings and increased revenue will pay for the project over the term of the contract. If the savings are not
realized, Johnson Controls pays the difference between the value of the measured and verified consumption and the guaranteed consumption under the contract.

The administration intends to make a full presentation to the Evansville City Council in the near future to continue the dialogue on this important opportunity for the City of Evansville


  1. Winnecke is working hard to keep Weinzapfel in a job isn’t he? Payback for Dem votes costing the people again.

  2. People in the political know that Winnenke worked hard behind close doors to kill this contract and now he is for it!

    Watch his political buddies at Vectren get the loin share of the new Johnson Control contract.

    Don’t worry Mayor the CCO already have your next move figured out concerning the new contract with Johnson Control and your newly found Union buddies.

    What a self serving two face liar that Mayor W. is turning out to be!

  3. Best known secret in close political groups is that Winnenke is a one termer.

    He didn’t wait till the ink to dry on the decision of the IURC rejecting the Johnson Control contract with the city and he suppots bringing it back up.

    This guy is a political idiot!

  4. Employees at the Civic Center are also highly disappointed in Winnenke for bringing back big raises (17% to 33% increases)s for the “FAB 10” city employees. They understand that Eric Williams shall be the next Mayor of Evansville. John Friend just lost all the support of city emplyees he has muster during the last year.

    Vote was 4 against raises and 4 for approval. Conner O’Daniel was absent in tonights vote.

    See what happens tomorrow!

    Most of all they city employees were extremely surprized that City Councilman, John Friend voted with Weaver, Robinson and McGinn to allow the “Fab 10” to get more then the 3% pay raise for city employees in 2013.

  5. WOW! I am stunned the Mayor is moving forward with what appears to be most of the Johnson Control Project! The basic assumptions of the so called water savings are totally flawed. The cost benefit is not there.

    John Friend—What is wrong with you on this salary thing? You should know that is wrong thing to do.

  6. Is anyone really fooled about this? This is racketeering. This is divvying up the spoils of whatever temporary power these good ol’ boy slimeballs can get hold of…I do stress “temporary”.

    I’m predicting now, you’ll see a Republican challenger in the next election.

    Let’s outlay some general principles the Mayor might do well to brush up on:
    1: Government doesn’t “create” jobs.
    2: Good leaders know how to get out of the way and let real job creators do what they do.
    3: Good leaders know how to congratulate a job well done, but do not show favoritism, creating instead a level playing field that everyone finds equally favorable.
    4: Above all, good leaders know how to be good stewards of the trust and money vested in them by those who have given them the opportunity to serve in a civic office.
    5: The government is best which governs least. Government should be like an ideal server at a restaurant…present just enough to do what needs to be done, but barely, if at all, noticed. Set priorities prudently and don’t try to be a superstar or create an egotistical legacy.
    6: Do not pander to groups of people like “women” and “minorities”. We are all people. Don’t insult this or that group by singling them out as if they need special favors to succeed. It insults them and the rest of us as well and only makes you look like a jackass.

  7. It would be nice if Winnecke had to face a Republican primary challenger but I just don’t see his party getting the guts to stand up to them. Half the time, I turn around and see them backing him up when they themselves have to know he is doing the wrong thing. Yet, that’s the scene time after time.

    As for the Dems, if Rick Davis runs I will support him, no questions asked. I see a lot of myself in him and I stand for most of the things he stands for.

    If Davis opts not to run then I would like to see the darkhorse John Friend give it a try. After that, I would give Williams a chance because I believe everyone deserves a fair chance and he seems to be a nice guy but I sure wish he would start distancing himself from Winnecke and Winnecke’s programs like VOICE. That would be a nightmare come true if this city ended up with Winnecke vs a Winnecke clone in disguise.

    The dems owe it to us to give us someone who is fundamentally opposed to the Winnecke policies.

      • Well I guess the best way to describe it is that it’s the 2nd coming of the Roberts Stadium Task Force only this time the process is even under tighter control by the mayor. He is basically subing out those pesky task force members and replacing them with the Chamber while retaining Lynn Miller-Pease.

        At our task force meetings, we had two members ask over and over for there to be a tally count on who supported what. Lynn Miller-Pease, along with Larry Steenberg, did everything they could to keep Greg Stilwell from getting surveys completed- they eventually failed as he got his answers from those who attended.

        Then the report comes out claiming it was a general conclusion that it was cheaper to build a new arena than to renovate and it was a general conclusion that the public wanted something for everyone (a term spoken by the green space subcommittee not the public).

        I can go into much longer and great detail (email me if you more) but it’s pretty obvious that they made their mind up long before the task force, yet they chose to waste everyone’s time and efforts just to make themselves look good. Miller-Pease knows the data in the report on page 13 does not reflect the data she and her group collected, but she has chosen to say nothing.

        And now they want to fool everyone again using the same method. One of the mayor’s campaign promises was to update the 2001 master plan. Now we’re starting from scratch. He said the project will need some “early wins” and has identified “some low hanging fruit.” It’s pretty obvious what is going to happen.

        The city already has projects in mind. They didn’t want to tackle the sidewalk problem bc they already have renovations to Hartke Pool and a few other things in mind (which they admitted in the C&P). I don’t know what they are wanting specifically but there will be a citizen at one of these meetings who will name the exact project they are wanting just like we had ONE single person at our task force who drew up a green space plan. Then, it will suddenly be the public’s idea to waste money on this capital improvement project and not the city.

        It is a spit in the face to those who served on the Roberts Stadium Task Force and who worked hard assembling feasible plans for the facility for any city leader to embrace “VOICE.” We’ve seen this act way too many times.

        – There is no money allocated for VOICE. So what keeps them from pulling the “it’s too expensive” for projects they don’t like while agreeing to their own projects like a dog park that is double the price of renovating Roberts?

        – There is nothing binding about VOICE. It is now clear that the city wasted everyone’s time putting together a nice 2001 master plan as well as hosting “NextGen” last year. Not to mention the Garvin Park plan is still collecting dust. Is this really going to be any different?

        – There has been no indication that the most popular ideas will be taken. OKC’s MAPS specifically took ideas that were most popular with their residents who voted. Why is there no voting in VOICE? This goes back to the binding problem.

        We need a real plan, not another red herring.

    • Rick Davis things sensibly about things until the Union comes knocking. Then he is a “YES” man! Unions will get whatever they want with Rick. Too bad to. I like everything about him but that.

  8. Very disappointed by this Winnecke decision. He had a chance for bold leadership, but punted.

  9. Another back room political deal cut between Winnenke, John Friend, Russ Lloyd, Union Bosses, Vectren Brass and Connie Robinson.

    Shame on you all!

  10. Surprized, nothing in the Evansville Courier and Press about this.

    We now know why the Editor of the Evansville Courier and Press called the City County Observer the Fox news of this area!

    Maybe the Courier and Press top brass will discuss this issue when they meet with the Mayor during their weekly Friday morning “matching order session” with the Mayor.

  11. New boss same as the old boss!!!! Man is Winneke Weinzapfel-lite or what!! One term Mayor I hope and pray!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Both Lloyds must go (Lloyd Winneneke and Russ Lloyd, Jr.).

    The Mayor will sit back the Republican many years before is voted out of office.

    Russ Lloyd, Jr. has proven early in his position as City Controller that he still has no political backbone. Still just a political puppet after all these years.

    Eric Williams for Mayor.

  13. There is more to this project than just building a network that reads water meters.

    It is sort of analogous to building a toll road. It makes no economical sense for individual companies in the transportation business to build their own roads, hence, it makes no sense for the City of Evansville Water Department to build a network, at ratepayer expense, capable of handling the metering and monitoring requirements of residential and commercial customers for any number of companies in need of such monitoring. VECTREN comes to mind here, and alarm companies also, and I am sure there are many other applications.

    If these other companies sign on to the project in a cost sharing or revenue sharing contract the project would be a lot more attractive not only to the people using the net, but also to the IURC which must approve such projects if ratepayer money is involved.

    So, in my humble opinion the recently rejected plan was an attempt to sort of corner the market by being the first to market, albeit with a flawed plan.


  14. What is the CCO opinion about this issue?

    Why are you keping quiet?

    Maybe your not the Fox News of Evansville after all.

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