Sunday, January 9, 2011

Flurry of City County Council Committee Meetings

This week will be a full one for committees of the City-County Council. The public notices can be found here.

The Metropolitan Development Committee meets Monday night at 5:30 pm in room 260 of the City County Building. On their agenda is Prop 298, which would do a couple of things. It would move the business of towing of vehicles to the Department of Code Enforcement to contract out, and authorize the Code Enforcement Officers of that Department to have vehicles declared a public nuisance and be towed. Currently, only Police Officers are authorized to do so. The language of the proposed ordinance seems to imply that instead of multiple towing companies, each contracted for its services within specific geographic 'zones', there would be only one towing company awarded the contract for the entire City.

The Rules Committee meets Tuesday night - same time, same place. Their agenda has two particular proposals that caught my eye. First is Prop 225, introduced back in August. It would require that contracts for all construction projects over $250,000 for the City or any of its agencies and Municipal Corporations, be awarded only to companies that meet certain criteria. Among those criteria is the requirement that 67% of their workforce be Marion County residents, and 60% of the subcontractors must have businesses that are owned and based in Marion County. The companies must also have 15% of its workforce from an apprentice or training program, all of whom must be City and County residents. After that is Prop 377, which would allow donations to the City at the same time as taxpayers pay their property taxes. The Committee will also get updated on the fiscal impact of the Police and Fire contracts.

The Committee on Committees meets right after the Rules Committee, in the President's Conference Room. The agenda only mentions 'Committee Assignments'.

On Wednesday night, the North of South deal comes before the Economic Development Committee. This committee will meet at 5:30 pm, in room 260 of the City-County Building. Curiously enough, Prop 247 has been moved from the Admin & Finance Committee, where it was originally assigned. This proposal would refinance the 1991 Harding Street TIF bonds and increase the principle enough to repay Lilly for an associated loan of $15 million. The total new principle would become $45 million (the original principle back in 1991 was $35 million). This is part of the North of South deal, in that this money has been earmarked for Lilly to give to the developer as part of their financing. Prop 292, which contains the meat of the North of South deal, is noted to be "For purposes of public testimony only. No vote is expected at this meeting.". This proposal would allow the City to float $98 million in bonds, secured by property tax revenues from the consolidated downtown TIF district. This money would be 'loaned' to the No-So developer. All property taxes derived from the development, would be applied to the repayment of the loan - resulting in a 10 year 100% abatement for the developer. You will recall that no bank found this development sound enough for a loan. The City would become a first mortgage holder on the project and assume the risk. The developer only has to come up with $6 million cash for a project that is claimed to be valued at over $155 million.

Thursday night, the Public Works Committee rounds out the week, with Prop 393, an interlocal agreement with the Town of Fishers for road work within Marion County, at our mutual border. Among other things, Fishers would be authorized to use eminent domain within Marion County, only to acquire right of way for improvements to the intersection of 96th Street and Allisonville Road. This committee will meet at 5:30 pm in room 260 of the City-County Building.

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