INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis City-County Council unanimously approved a nearly $1.6 billion spending plan for 2024.
Mayor Joe Hogsett announced his 2024 budget proposal back in August. On Monday night, city leaders finally approved it in a 25-0 bipartisan vote. The largest sums go towards public safety and roadways across the Circle City.
IMPD makes up the single largest budget item at $324 million, which is a 3.5% increase from the department’s 2023 budget.
“A lot of that money is going for new officers and their salaries,” IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said. “Increasing their salaries so we can attract those qualified individuals that want to work for the IMPD.”
The department is looking to add some 200 additional officers. Right now, IMPD has nearly 1,530 total sworn officers, which is about 60 officers fewer than at the start of the year.
In addition to recruitment, IMPD hopes to beef up its technology.
“You’ve got a number of different camera options that are going to be coming around,” Chief Taylor described. “Dash cams on the squad cars, which helps with transparency, but also more city cameras so we can find those people who are committing crimes and take care of that a lot quicker.”
The Indianapolis Fire Department is also allotted more than $255 million, which will be used towards recruitment, vehicle leasing, pension and software upgrades and behavioral health services.
Upkeep of city roads and infrastructure is also a major portion of next year’s budget. Nearly $232 million will be set aside for the Department of Public Works, which will have a major focus on pedestrian safety.
“All of our capital projects now upgrade pedestrian safety elements, whether it’s bike trails, sidewalks, siderails, things of that nature,” said DPW Director Brandon Herget. “And so, as we continue to deliver on those capital investments, those are going to include the necessary elements to keep folks safe.”
Mayor Hogsett thanked the members of the Indianapolis City-County Council Monday night following the bipartisan support as he seeks to be reelected as mayor next month.
“I want to thank President Osili, Vice President Adamson, Leaders Lewis and Mowery, and all councilors for their significant collaboration and support of our spending priorities,” said Mayor Hogsett. “The passage of this budget is a major victory for Indianapolis residents, as we invest unprecedented resources towards law enforcement and public safety, reinforce our commitment to community-based violence reduction, transform infrastructure at the large-scale and community level, and improve neighborhoods throughout our city.”
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is also budgeted nearly $130 million.
City-County Council President Vop Osili released the following statement after Monday’s budget vote:
The bipartisan support for Mayor Hogsett’s budget reflects its alignment with the priorities of constituents across our city’s 25 Council districts. The result of that alignment and cooperation between Mayor Hogsett and members of Council is a budget that provides for critical investments in public safety, infrastructure, and improvements to the quality of life in our neighborhoods—withoutincreasing taxes on residents or requiring the sale of public assets. I want to thank Mayor Hogsett and his team for their commitment to working with the Council to support resilient neighborhoodsand vibrant communities across Indianapolis,” said President Osili. “I’m proud of this city, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done together on behalf of our constituents.
While the budget passed unanimously, Marion County Republicans did express concerns.
A statement from the Marion County GOP read:
Tonight, we voted in favor of the proposed 2024 budget for the City of Indianapolis. Our caucus does not make this decision lightly, and we recognize that this budget does not perfectly represent our or our constituents’ priorities. However, considering our city is in the midst of a public safety crisis and the fact that IMPD is facing dangerously low staffing levels, we did not feel that it was time for a political statement. It is our hope and expectation that the money appropriated tonight will help to bring new officers on board and keep our veteran officers serving our community. Despite the increased funding in the last few budgets, the administration has failed to deliver on the promises of better public safety and hiring and retaining officers. Moving forward, it will be the focus of our caucus to ensure that the dollars allocated tonight are used for their intended purposes and in a timely manner to make sure we are not in this same position this time next year.
Republican Candidate Jefferson Shreve also issued the following statement Monday night:
I’m glad to see the increased funding for public safety, but no amount of money is going to make Joe Hogsett an effective mayor. His budgets pass every year, without better results.
We’ve had the budget for a fully staffed police force; yet we’re 300 officers short. 800 have left, deciding they don’t want to work for him.
This is not a fiscal issue, this is a leadership issue. Mayor Hogsett’s had eight years — it’s time for a change, and I look forward to leading our city under this budget.