The city-county council in Indianapolis has approved a 2014 budget. The measure will use money from several funds to bridge a $15 million deficit. Our partners at WTHR report the council also approved the budget of the city's stadium authority, the Capital Improvement Board. October 14, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Tonight, the Indianapolis City/County Council approved the 2014 budget in a bipartisan vote that included input from both parties. The budget adds 80 needed officers to the IMPD ranks, but holds the line on taxes and protects critical school funding. “I am pleased we came to a bipartisan agreement that serves our entire community,” said Council President Maggie A. Lewis. “A budget that improves public safety and protects taxpayers is a win for all our residents.”

“Throughout the budget process, the Council majority and Mayor's Office worked together,” said Council Vice President John Barth, “From the beginning, the Council's goal has been to support IMPD officers while minimizing the impact on taxpayers. We were able to do both with this budget.”

Mayor Ballard's original proposed budget raised property taxes by eliminating the Homestead Tax Credit – which would have meant higher tax bills for residents and a loss of revenue for schools. The budget negotiation focused on finding another way to pay for additional police officers. To fund a class of 30 IMPD officers in addition to the 50 already in the budget, the Council and Mayor agreed to tap a $5.7 million fund for legal expenses for the Citizens Energy Utilities transfer that had reverted to the City and to use $6.9 million from the fiscal stability fund.

In addition to passing the budget, the Council introduced a proposal to create a bipartisan study commission to determine the appropriate and necessary number of IMPD officers and to review and analyze long-term funding options. “Public Safety Director Riggs and his team have laid the groundwork for us to build on, which will allow us to to take an in-depth look at cost projections and staffing models so we can do needed long-term planning” said Vice President Barth.

Source: The Office of City-County Council President Maggie Lewis

October 14, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Mayor Greg Ballard, City-County Council President Maggie Lewis and Vice President John Barth today announced a compromise for the 2014 budget. The agreement fully funds the 2014 budget; provides for a second IMPD recruit class in 2014 of 30 officers, bringing the total to 80 officers for 2014, and provides funding for IMPD raises identical to an offer accepted by IFD leadership.

“This agreement achieves my goals of adding a second IMPD recruit class and avoiding months of budget debates that shake confidence in the City's fiscal stability,” said Mayor Ballard. “This deal is not perfect as it delays long-term fiscal questions to 2015, but it will provide the necessary revenue to hire new police officers and continue making the necessary investments that make Indy a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

In the absence of the elimination of the Homestead Tax Credit, the budget faced a $15 million deficit in order to add a second recruit class and pay IMPD raises. This compromise agreement closes that gap by taking a one-time loan of $6.9 million from the Fiscal Stability Fund, use of $2.4 million from the rainy day fund and spending $5.7 million in funds leftover in an escrow account to pay possible claims stemming from the transfer of the water utilities to Citizens’ Energy Group.

“From the beginning of the budget process the Council has pursued an approach to ensure more IMPD officers,” said Council President Lewis. “I am pleased this budget does that. In the end a bi-partisan approach worked well for our city.”

“While not perfect, this compromise does represent the best interest of the citizens of Indianapolis. Now that this budget agreement is resolved, we can turn our attention to the 2015 budget,” said Michael McQuillen, Council Minority Leader.

The budget agreement does not tap funding from the Parking Meter Fund that is dedicated to infrastructure improvements or funding from the Information Services Agency (ISA) budget.

The agreement is set to be voted upon tonight by the City-County Council.

Source: The Office of Mayor Greg Ballard

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