INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 1, 2015) - Council members believe new police cars and upgrades to IMPD training facilities could be in jeopardy. The city recently moved $6.8 million out of the IMPD general fund without approval from City-County Council.
Councilors on both sides of the aisle are frustrated and questioning if the mayor had the authority to move these funds. Residents recently approved an increase to the public safety tax with the promise that money would be used to hire more officers. Council members also passed a $4.7 million proposal to buy new police cars, improve the firearms range and upgrade the department's training academy.
"It’s just a slap in the face to the taxpayers. It’s saying that 'Yeah we understand this tax was raised. We got this money into the city coffers and now we’re going to use it how we want to use it.' I think it’s insulting," said Mary Moriarty Adams, council member.
The council's attorney said he does not believe the mayor had authority to sign off on the transfer. He said the council has the sole power to appropriate funds.
The mayor's office released the following statement:
Rather than engage in productive conversation, council leadership is once again fear mongering through inflammatory and inaccurate Facebook posts. Since late April, the Mayor’s Office has been in discussions with council staff and the FOP regarding funding options that would allow us to repay the Fiscal Stability Fund loan and also fund the items specified in Prop. 47 – without depleting IMPD’s general fund. As promised to citizens, council members and ratings agencies, we have now repaid the $6.8 million loan that was used to fund new officers in 2014. We are also seeking to fully fund the items identified in Prop. 47, including vehicles and facility upgrades, by using some of the city’s cumulative capital funds – a different, more appropriate funding source. We believe this option still achieves the desire of the Council and the FOP, supports IMPD’s operations, and maintains the city’s favorable credit rating.
The president of the local fraternal order of police worries about what this fund transfer will mean for public safety.
"Out of a one billion dollar budget why would you pick six million dollars from the police department, right? Why would you do that? You’re telling me we can’t find six million dollars somewhere else in a one billion dollar budget? You pick public safety? You pick the police department for that? Boy somebody has got to ask some questions about that," said Rick Snyder, President of FOP Lodge 86.