Sunday, February 21, 2010

City Council Meets Monday

The Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council meets this Monday night. Unfortunately, the Council link to this agenda does not work. Nor are any of the proposals to be introduced Monday night available on their website.

So, all I can mention here is that two Proposals that are of interest to my eye, that are indeed set for a vote tomorrow night, are the consolidation of Franklin Township Fire Department with IFD (Prop 43) and the appropriation of the $5 million abatement clawed back from Navistar (Prop 35). Prop 39, the guns in parks proposal authored by Councillor Ed Coleman, is on the Parks committee agenda for Thursday night, February 25, at 5:00 pm in room 260 of the City-County Building.

If you live in Franklin Township, you might want to take a thorough look at Prop 43, as it appears that the Township loses assets, retains debt, and loses a portion of the County Option Income Tax revenue stream to IFD. It also must pay to change the decals on the equipment and the signs on the stations. IFD does appear to be required to assume all pension obligations.

Prop 35, passed out of committee last week with a vote of 4-1. Republican Councillors Cardwell, McQuillen, and Malone, were joined by Democrat Moriarty-Adams. The lone no vote was cast by Democrat Councillor Evans.

This proposal appropriates $5.5 million in abatement money that is being returned to the City by agreement with Navistar. I have addressed this issue before in "Abatements -- Scary Loopholes Need Closing". The short of it is that when a company is granted an abatement, certain goals in hiring and/or investment are set. Should the company not meet those goals, some portion of the forgiven property taxes are to be paid back to the City.

The returned money should be allocated back to the taxing units by the same formula as property tax revenues are allocated. In this case, the Navistar plant is in IPS territory and just over half of the $5 million should go to IPS, in my view. But, the City is taking advantage of the lack of governing law or policy on where returned abatement money should go. Also, no matter how much the City spends of these funds, they surely should not be spending it on the Indianapolis Economic Development, Inc., and the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association. The former is the group that funds Mayor Ballard's trips abroad and now a clear line links tax money to Ballard's trips. The ICVA already gets almost $10 million a year in tax payer funds to operate. Meanwhile we have potholes, streets, and sidewalks that need repairing - and Mayor Ballard has appointed a task force to look at raising money for those needs, including the sale of assets owned by the taxpayers. Meanwhile we have a Parks budget that was slashed by $5 million this last year. Meanwhile crime prevention grants to be announced tomorrow night, will total $4 million - down from the promised $5 million 'because we just don't have the money'. Meanwhile we have a City-owned water company looking to raise rates by 35% on top of its recent raise in rates. Meanwhile we have a mass transit plan being hawked around the region with its concomitant increase in sales taxes and diversion of money we use to repair streets. Meanwhile we have people living under bridges in our fair city. Meanwhile we have a whole lot better things to do with that money than toss it to IEDI and the ICVA.

I'll post more on the proposals to be introduced once the Council website issues are fixed. This is unusual for them, so I'm guessing it will be taken care of Monday morning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The corporatocracy wins again - They found another way to transfer wealth permanently from taxpayers to fund so-called convention marketing, which is nothing more than an unaccountable slush fund. Another day, another scam by our public-private partners in crime.