INDIANAPOLIS– Mayor Joe Hogsett unveiled the 2021 city budget which calls for $22 million in more spending than this year. Hogsett also stated it is the fourth balanced budget his administration has presented.
“COVID19 has had a crippling impact on the lives of Indianapolis residents,” Hogsett said. “It will no doubt bring fiscal challenges to our desks in the coming years. But we can take some comfort in knowing that Indianapolis and this council has spend the past four years putting our fiscal house in order.
The proposed budget for next year is $1.29 billion and was introduced during a virtual meeting of the City-County council at 7 p.m.
Public safety and criminal justice spending account for 58% of the city’s budget.
There will be no effort to “defund the police” as social justice protesters have called for across the nation.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) will see a $7.7 million increase to $291 million. The Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD)’s spending will increase $3 million to $281 million.
Spending for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MSCO) will climb $3.2 million to $122 million.
“I’m not saying we’re flush with cash and there’s gonna have to be some sacrificing in 2021,” Hogsett told FOX59. “It is a challenging fiscal time for the city but I do believe over the last three years because we have introduced and passed balanced budgets that the city is in as good a fiscal position as it possibly can be given the effects of the pandemic. The truth is, we’re gonna have a challenge in Indianapolis not only in 2021 but particularly in 2022 because of the way the state distributes our local option income as more challenging fiscal position in 2022 than it does in 2021.”
The Hogsett budget seeks to grow fund balances in 2021 in anticipation of the pandemic shutdown slump in income tax revenues in the years to come.
“We have to be very fiscally conservative when it comes to the city budget, particularly with the big hit we took this year with COVID-19, with the riots and some of the things going on in the downtown area. We want to be very cognizant of the fact that we just don’t have a ton of money to blow and we have to be watching every penny that we spend,” said Paul Annee, a republican councilor from the city’s south side. “We are investing in public safety and I think we see that some of those numbers are going up, particularly with IMPD and IFD, and we need to continue to invest in public safety. Its so important. People don’t feel safe anymore in the downtown area, they don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods. We have to reclaim the city of Indianapolis and I think a good investment in public safety is a good step forward.”
No tax hikes or layoffs or furloughs of city employees are forecast.
The full council is expected to approve the budget by mid-October.