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Indy’s 2018 budget adds money for police and roads

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- We are getting our first look at Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s (D) 2018 city budget proposal, which his office says will be the first “structurally balanced” budget in ten years.

The plan is being billed as the infrastructure and public safety budget, highlighting two of the biggest portions of this proposal.

“What we’re proposing tonight isn’t just the first structurally balanced budget we’ve seen in about a decade, but it also makes significant investments in roads, sidewalks, storm water infrastructure, and importantly adds a recruit class of about 86 IMPD officers,” said Thomas Cook, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff.

In the 2018 proposal, IMPD will get almost $14 million more than it had in 2017. There is also an extra $250,000 put aside for crime prevention grants. Public works will get more than $18 million more than it did in 2017’s budget. That’s just one part of what the Mayor’s office says will be a $120 million overall investment into streets, greenways, and storm water infrastructure.

As it stands, the proposal leaves the city with a more than $200,000 surplus. That is a significant step forward, says the Mayor’s office, given the 2017 budget ran a more than $25 million deficit.

Cook says that surplus is possible because tax revenue has increased organically, mostly as property values rise. He says they’ve also not filled open city jobs that aren’t essential, which saved millions of dollars, and brought some services currently contracted to outside vendors back in-house and under direct city control.

“We’re not asking for a penny in new taxes,” said Cook, “this is simply a budget that asks us to live within our means.”

He’s also hoping the proposal will get swift approval from the City-County Council.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that that bipartisan cooperation that we’ve seen over the last two years will continue with this budget cycle,” said Cook.

The proposed 2018 budget will be presented at Monday’s City-County Council meeting. It is then expected to take about two months before the Council votes on a final version.