Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Getting By On Only $65 Million More

Wow !! I was all prepared for a tight budget for 2010, what with the tax caps coming on and the City needing to pare something like $30M from its budget due to those caps. I listened to Mayor Ballard's budget introduction last night and heard about some federal stimulus dollars; not bad to soften the blow, I thought. I jotted a note that the Assessor consolidation would 'save' $2M - they promised $3M and I'd still like to see that $3M - but for 2010 I can live with $2M. I heard about salary freezes for all but union negotiated contracts and about 300 employees who make below poverty wages. I make a note to look up the poverty level so I have a better picture. But, nonetheless, that seemed commendable, given the tight, perhaps bleak budget picture. The Mayor spoke of having to bridge a $40M shortfall as the tax caps came online. Tough job. I'm beginning to think an 'attaboy' is in order.

Imagine my surprise just a while ago, when looking over the budget numbers in preparation for tonight's first budget hearings, I see that 2010 revenues are expected to exceed those for 2009 by a whopping $65 Million. Wow !! You can bridge a lot of gaps with an additional $65 Million. In all fairness, $24 Million of that is additional money from the State and the Feds. Still, its not like the City is sliding toward catastrophe because of the property tax caps.

Here's how the revenue numbers look - rounding to the nearest million dollars:

City/County Revenues2009 Projected
2010 Introduced
Licenses & Permits1114
Charges for Services196220
State & Federal Grants and Taxes254278
Sale and Lease of Property21
Fees for Services108
Fines & Penalties57
Misc. & Interest2219
Debt Service Subsidies22
Other Financing & Transfers10
Trust & Agency Receipts60

Even with the property tax caps coming in full force for 2010, total tax revenues increased by $27M. So, considering the stated $30M shortfall due to the caps, the remaining tax revenues must have soared by a stunning $57M. Even with all the name calling and denunciations going on, former Mayor Peterson's tax increase continues to save Mayor Ballard's bacon. The claim of having to bridge a $40 M shortfall due to the property tax caps is pretty clearly hyperbole and not the whole story.


Anonymous said...

Wow, with all that extra money, why does the Current Planning Section face a $500,000 shortfall? Hint: The elimination of a $500,000+ contribution resulting from the formation of the Office of Code Enforcement (DMD obviously can't require an illegally created Office to provide the funds). As a Division of DMD it could made to do so. There is nothing that can be cut except personnel. All other expenses are fixed. Some are pretending, although they know it won't work, that doubling or tripling fees will eliminate the deficit. How many planners does it take to equal $500,000 dollars? Answer: A lot. How many planners will be left without the gap being closed? Answer: Few to none.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Anon - I'm not ignoring you. I'll look into it further.