Monday, September 13, 2010

City Budget Hearings This Week

This week includes three nights of budget hearings before various committees of the City-County Council.

Up tonight is the budget for the Department of Metropolitan Development. After a copious injection of federal stimulus dollars last year and this, the budget is falling back to the pre-downturn days. In a budget of $35 million, roughly $6 million will go to personal services (salaries and benefits), and the vast vast majority of $29 million will pass through to 'other services and charges' (contracts, rent, etc.).

Tuesday night, the budgets for Information Services Agency ($34 m), County Assessor ($7.6 m), and Telecom & Video Services ($0.5 m) will be discussed. ISA (the IT service for the City and County) has been steadily growing in staff budget -- almost doubling from $2.5 m in 2008 to a proposed $4.3 m for 2011. It will be interesting to see why they need a $3.7 m increase in professional services contracts. The total budget request is for an overall increase of $1.6 m. The County Assessor budget for salaries has been steadily dropping from the days of reassessment; with a further drop of about $300,000 this year to $5.8 m. The Telecom folks are most notable for WCTY broadcasts. While bringing in an estimated $8.5 m from cable franchise fees, they will only spend about $0.5 m; the remainder of the revenue goes to the County fund.

Wednesday night its time for reviewing the Circuit Court ($1 m), Superior Court ($52 m), County Clerk ($6 m), and County Sheriff ($103 m). The Circuit Court budget has bounced a tiny bit over the past few years, but the lion's share goes to salaries - $767,900 for 2011. $36 m of the Superior Court budget would go to personnel, down $2 m from this year. A drop in ISA charges and 'other services' and equipment costs account for the other million dollars in budget reductions. Keeping the trend alive, the Clerk's budget is primarily for personnel, which is being reduced by $200,000 for 2011. The total budget is reduced by about half that for 2011. The Sheriff's budget on the revenue side, anticipates a big spike in income from 'emergency 911' taxes - going from $0.2 m this year to $1.0 m next. Also changing is an increase in federal grants from $0.8 m this year to $1.4 m next and a drop in reimbursements from interlocal agreements from $5 m this year to $3.8 m next. Overall, Sheriff revenues are proposed to drop by $0.5 m. Expenses, however, are proposed to drop by $4.5 m; back to their 2008 levels. Salaries weigh in at $61.5 m, down $0.7 m from this year, but still $7 m more than 2008. Supplies are set to drop by $1.4 m, due mostly to savings in 'garage & motor supplies', 'general office supplies', and 'repair parts', all of which are the same or more than those items in 2008. $2.6 m is being cut from 'other services & charges', due mostly to a drop in 'equipment repair', 'ISA charges', and 'professional services' contracts, and 'other services & charges'.

5 comments:

Indy Student said...

What federal grants does the Sheriff's Department get and what do they use the funding for?

Had Enough Indy? said...

I can't answer you question specifically.

All committees meet at 5:30 pm in room 260, by the way (forgot to mention).

The budget info posted online notes $1 m for 'care of federal prisoners, and $1.4 m for 'federal grant reimbusements. The budget book, also posted online, notes it as $0.8 m for 'federal grants' and $0.6 m for 'stimulus funds - federal'. That is the extent of my information into the matter.

Anonymous said...

Has the downtown meter contract passed or is it still in the planning phases?

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon - it is in limbo at this point. It was to have a second committee meeting so the Councillors could get more information, but that meeting was cancelled.

I see that IBJ is reporting that about 80 downtown merchants have written a letter asking Mayor Ballard to throw it out altogether.

To be charitable -- at this moment it looks iffy.

Anonymous said...

The Sheriff's Department has TWO (2), yes that's two, grant writers on staff, plus according to the channel 6 spreadsheet retain the services of an outside grantwriter as well. Most of the funding is used on Sex Offender Registry projects, which could be done much more inexpensively than the way it is done now.

If managed correctly (which it isn't now) the Sheriff's Department could easily run on under 100 million. One of the above managed "grantwriters" only job is to monitor one grant, something that I'm sure does not take 40 hours a week.