Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and the City-County Council reached an agreement on the 2013 budget Monday, which would restore about $32 million in funding to county offices and cut the proposed budget deficit from $35 million to $6 million for 2014.
“I view budgeting beyond just one year, and this compromise puts the city in a much stronger fiscal position in 2014 and beyond, ” said Mayor Ballard. “We still must to 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.”
At Monday’s City-County Council meeting, councilors had a chance to sound off as well.
“I’m very pleased that we were able to come to an agreement,” said Council President Maggie Lewis, D-District 7.
“For every dollar in new revenue, there will be about two dollars in reductions in spending so that’s good news,” said Minority Leader Mike McQuillen, R-District 12.
One of the biggest sticking points during the budget debate last year surrounded a call to collect funding from the Capital Improvement Board. The agency is responsible for Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse. As part of the budget agreement, the CIB will have to pay the city $5 million for public safety.
But as a part of that deal, car rental taxes will go up by 2 percent and admission taxes for the Pacers and Colts will go up by 4 percent, starting March 1, 2013.
“Is that going to keep folks from coming to the city?” asked Lewis.
“Those were not my favorite parts of it, but at the end of it, there was a compromise and I think it’ll be for the best for the city,” said McQuillen.
While the budget is a compromise no one is completely in love with, it appears in politics that means everyone is happy.
“Obviously there’s things in it that the Democrats like, the Republicans like, or don’t like, but it’s about compromising and doing what’s best for the city,” said Lewis.
The Council still has to discuss and vote on pieces of the budget that deal with taxes.
It will also have to work with Mayor Ballard to figure out whether or not to eliminate the Homestead Credit Subsidy, a move which would bring in an additional $9 million for the city.
“No one wants to talk about taxes, you know no one wants to go on record, increasing taxes but you know it’s hard times… so we have to do what’s best for this city so we have to take a look at the taxes,” said Lewis.