INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indianapolis has a budget for 2018.
But it’s far from being finished.
Multiple city-county councillors asked for the audit of the sheriff’s department several weeks ago, when Sheriff John Layton announced he’d be closing the Arrestee Processing Center.
Eight weeks later and just an hour before the final budget hearing and vote, they got support from the mayor. Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office confirmed it’s supporting a full review of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
“I don’t know how much of a difference it would’ve made, but certainly an extra couple of months would’ve been nice to have from the administration to begin that process,” said councilman Scott Kreider.
The audit announcement comes after Republicans on the City-County Council and CBS4 began making inquiries into the proposed 2018 budget of Sheriff John Layton.
Kreider was one of two councilors who voted against the budget Monday night, in part because the budget leaves the sheriff’s office initial request intact, even though they won’t be performing some of the services they budgeted for.
Kreider says the next few months will be critical to figuring out exactly what they won’t be doing anymore, how much it costs and how much IMPD will need to do the same.“It would be nice to have resolved once and for all what kind of equipment they truly need, how many personnel/staff they need to perform their functions and some clear delineation of the tasks that will be performed by sheriff versus IMPD,” said Kreider.
Those are questions still somehow unanswered ten years after the Sheriff’s Office and IMPD merged during city-county consolidation. The audit will aim to answer some of them.
“I think we need to start this process tomorrow,” said council president Maggie Lewis. “It’s very important that we go ahead and get the ball rolling.”
Councillors will have to wait until January 1st to make changes to the sheriff and IMPD budgets.
Many republican councillors though voiced concerns that those won’t be the only department budgets they have to fix down the road.
Parks and Recreation, Department of Public Works and Department of Metropolitan Development all received funding approval tonight.
And even though the city county council voted 21 to 2 to approve the budget, many councillors say they still have concerns over whether the city actually has all its financial issues sorted out.
“I’m telling you, I’m going to watch like a hawk, as councillor Pfisterer said, fiscal appropriations next year,” said councillor Jeff Miller. “Every one of them. Because I heard too many departments say they were underfunded.”
President Lewis and a spokesperson for the mayor’s office both say the risk for additional appropriations is the same as every year.
“If they’re taking more interest in it this year, that’s fine,” said Lewis. “That is what we are elected to do, and so I’m not concerned when they say they’re going to dive in deeper or are going to be watching like a hawk. It is their job.”