INDIANAPOLIS – A long-term budget for Indianapolis is taking shape.
Mayor Greg Ballard and City-County Council President Maggie Lewis announced Monday that they’ve developed the framework for a budget plan for the city. If approved by the City-County Council, the deal would result in the restoration of about $32 million in funding for county offices and cut the 2014 deficit—a gap that’s currently about $35 million—to $6 million.
“I view budgeting beyond just one year, and this compromise puts the city in a much stronger fiscal position in 2014 and beyond,” Ballard said. “We still must do some heavy lifting to control spending, find new efficiencies and address our public safety/criminal justice system, but this agreement will provide the city the resources it needs to continue funding critical operations.”
Lewis said the deal required the cooperation of the mayor in addition to council Democrats and Republicans.
“The agreement we have reached exhibits a true collaborative effort. I look forward to working more closely with the Mayor administering the city’s finances over the coming year,” Lewis said. “Our agreement strengthens our partnership with the CIB and identifies fiscal resources needed to address public safety concerns, which were central to the budget that the council passed.”
Under the terms of the agreement, both sides agreed to reduce 2013 spending by an additional five percent, and will hold meetings with agency directors and elected officials to review finances. The Capital Improvement Board (CIB) will pay Indianapolis $5 million for public safety. That money was originally allotted for repairs on the Capitol Commons Garage, but the city will now pay for that via the downtown TIF.
Residents can expect to see increases in car rental and admission taxes. The car rental tax will increase by two percent, the admission tax by four percent. Those changes go into effect on March 1. According to the deal, 100 percent of the revenue—about $6.7 million—from the first year will go to public safety. After the first year, 25 percent will go toward public safety.
Ballard and the Council will form a commission to discuss the Homestead Credit Subsidy, which Ballard wants to eliminate.
The deal would also mandate monthly financial meetings with Ballard and the leadership of both caucuses and continue the implementation of a Public Safety Foundation.
The agreement would produce a $12 million annual increase in general fund revenue beginning in 2014, giving the city a much more manageable gap of $6 million between spending and revenue. The deal would leave the city with $42 million in operating costs at the end of 2013.