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Evansville and JCI Agree to Final Terms of Smart City 2.0 Initiative

The City of Evansville announced recently that it has agreed to final terms with Johnson Controls (JCI) on the Smart City 2.0 Initiative.

Since the city signed the guaranteed savings contract in late 2011, the Winnecke Administration has worked collaboratively with JCI to make improvements and reduce the financial scope of the project by $11 million while creating 150 new jobs during the two year construction period of the contract.

Through continued negotiations, the city-owned fiber optic network will be removed, which represents an additional financial savings from the contract. “In recent weeks, the private sector has come forward with various communications options in lieu of the city installing and owning its own fiber optic network,” said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. “This project is an innovative way to solve problems that have been neglected for decades, plus we are putting local people to work.”

Smart City 2.0 is funded by a performance-based contract which uses a portion of the guaranteed savings to pay for the project itself – without rate increases. The project includes the replacement and automation of Evansville Water & Sewer Utilities (EWSU) water meters, improvements to water/wastewater treatment systems and harnessing renewable energy at those treatment plants.

The use of wireless meter reading technology will basically eliminate “estimated” readings of water meters and improve the utility’s ability to detect water leaks faster throughout the city. Currently, Utility customers don’t know their water usage until they receive their monthly water and sewer bill, which are several weeks after their meter is read. The technology will eventually allow Water Utility customers to view their water meter reading through the internet in an almost real time mode.

Another creative solution involves installing a Fats Oils and Grease System (FOG) that will convert FOG received from food establishments into methane to power a generator producing electricity used to reduce the waste treatment plant’s electricity expenses.

“This project means we can improve services and address aging utility infrastructure while at the same time potentially reducing the amount of the anticipated rate increase associated with the EPA Consent Decree,” said Evansville Water and Sewer Utility Director Allen Mounts.

The Administration intends to seek approval of a revised bond resolution by the Utility Board on June 11 and file a bond ordinance with City Council for 1st reading on June 24. At the July 8 meeting, the ordinance will be heard on 2nd and 3rd reading, including a presentation on the final contract and bond ordinance.

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