Mayor’s crime plan heads to City-County Council Monday

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By Lindy Thackston

INDIANAPOLIS - The City-County Council will consider Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's crime plan Monday night. He unveiled the plan in July.

Mayor Ballard says his plan is a multi-faceted approach that focuses on prevention, protection and punishment.

Part of the plan calls for $50 million to support early childhood education.

The preschool program would give out scholarships to 1,300 children per year. The mayor has proposed paying for it by eliminating the homestead tax credit. City finance officials said eliminating the tax credit would free up $25 million.

The United Way would manage the program and seek matching funds for every dollar spent, bringing the total up to $50 million. The money would be spent over five years.

Some homeowners and realtors are upset about losing the big tax exemption. One realtor who spoke with FOX59 said eliminating the tax credit "will kill the Indianapolis housing market."

Critics also worry getting rid of the credit will take money away from schools.

Mayor Ballard recently toured an elementary school to promote his plan.

The plan also calls for hiring 280 police officers by 2018. The additional officers would be paid for by increasing the public safety tax from 0.35% to 0.50%.

The mayor’s office said, if both the homestead tax was eliminated and the public safety tax increased, it would cost an average Indianapolis resident an additional $7.16 per month in taxes.

This would take effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Supporters say his plan is visionary. Critics say it's not well thought out.

The meeting is Monday at 7 p.m. at the City-County Building.