INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 1, 2015) - The day before a new electric car sharing service is set to launch, council members voiced their concerns. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard fired back and defended the Blue Indy program.
Three democratic councilors questioned why taxpayers dollars are being spent on the electric cars as they stood in front of the Blue Indy station on Delaware near E. Washington Street. The Board of Public Works recently approved $6 million for the program.
"Blue Indy customers aren't the only ones being taken for a ride, so are the taxpayers," said Joe Simpson, City-County Councilor.
A big point of political contention remains the $6 million payment. Councilors say they would like to see resources being spent on police officers and squad cars, not electric cars.
"What they're saying is ludicrous, I mean it's hilarious, they just went over there and lied to you over there," said Mayor Ballard.
Council members said they want to negotiate with Blue Indy and would like to see the company pay a franchise fee. They're also upset because the city has waived fees related to permits for the stations. For example, the city waived $30,000 in fees for the Blue Indy site located at Washington and Meridian.
"Are all these restaurants and everybody else that uses these spaces are they paying franchise fees, answer me that," said Mayor Ballard.
A spokesperson for the mayor said she hopes people will give Blue Indy a chance despite the controversy.
The mayor's office also said the $6 million dollars is coming from four different sources including the parking meter fund, Rebuild Indy, transportation and the city cumulative capital fund. The money will be put in an escrow account and Blue Indy will only be paid once it meets certain requirements.
In the meantime, residents and business owners are continuing to voice concerns about the location of charging stations. Randy Peterman, the owner of Peterman's Tire Center, fought back against a proposed station right in front of his business.
"Well it's kind of like Monopoly they just want to come in and take over. I mean there's no letter sent out, you know we're going to have an interview with you, talk to you about taking part of your land, they just want to come and take it," said Randy Peterman, the owner of Peterman's Tire Center.
The mayor's spokesperson said the city and Blue Indy will work with anyone who has concerns about the location of a charging station. Blue Indy has provided a map of all the available stations here.