Monday, November 14, 2011

Council Meets Tonight

The City-County Council will hold its first lame duck meeting tonight.  The agenda is posted on the Council website.

A few items caught my eye.

Of interest tonight is Prop 303, which, unless an agreement has been reached by both sides, would cause the Council to hear a zoning matter - petition 2011-CZN-825 (2855 N. Keystone Ave.) which was approved by the MDC on October 5, 2011.  A brief review of the online documents, including staff report, suggests that Herman & Kittle want to rezone 1.6 acres from commercial uses to a multi-family residential use.  They want a 3 story, 56-unit building.  The current planning staff recommended denial of the petition, primarily due to how different this use and structure would be from the surrounding neighborhood of single story residences and a community center.  Should the matter go to a full hearing by the Council, a 2/3 majority vote of the Council is required to overturn the decision of the MDC.

Prop 286 is kind of peculiar, in that it appropriates about $8 million for this year's budget, $7.6 million of which is for debt service.  The proposal says that it will all be paid with new revenues.  One has to wonder how a) somebody missed the need for $7.6 million in debt service payments due in 2011, and b) failed to appropriate the money during the budget process for 2011.  Debt service schedules are highly predictable.

Props 286, 304, 307,  and 308, excluding the debt service noted above, adds $1.9 million to the current budgets of 6 departments or agencies (Mayor's Office, Department of Code Enforcement, Public Defender, Cooperative Extension, Community Corrections, and Superior Court) and cuts the current budget of the County Prosecutor by $211,500.  Now, just over $600,000 is from newly obtained grant money, which certainly needs to be appropriated.  But, in a twist, the entire $1.9 million would be reduced by $1.5 million if Prop 309, which is being introduced tonight, is passed.  Prop 309 cuts 24 budgets by a total of $16 million, "for the purpose of ensuring the city and county have adequate fund balances going into 2012 and beyond".

Also being introduced tonight are three Proposals authored by Councillor Angela Mansfield aimed at the unilateral decision of Council President, Ryan Vaughn, to expend $50,000 for redrawing precinct lines and another $225,000 for redrawing Council District lines.  Indy Star reporter, Jon Murray, has a really good article on this set of proposals in today's paperProp 315 would censure Vaughn for the expenditure and remove him from the Presidency.  Prop 316 would rescind the contract to redraw Council District lines and hold the money for use next year.  Prop 317 would require any expenditure over $500 by the Council officers to be approved by the Council's Committee on Committees.  All three will be assigned to the Rules committee.

Two more proposals to be introduced tonight are tied together.  Prop 336 appropriates $2 million from the Rebuild Indy fund, to a charter school incubator to be created by a partnership with the Mind Trust.  Prop 338 creates an Office of Education Innovation, a Board to oversee it, and the charter school incubator.  It further grants the Director of the OEI, the authority to approve sending back to the non-profit, all of the County Option Income Tax revenue collected from employees of any Marion County non-profit that "is committed to reform and improve educational outcomes in our county".  All 5 members of the Board would be appointed by the Mayor and may either reside or work in Marion County as one of the minimum qualifications.


Anonymous said...

Brooks is laughing all the way to the bank with the that $225,000 contract. GIS software is available for redistricting at a cost of $4,500 ( That leaves a pretty nice profit. The Ballard administration continues to screw the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

I feel like I'm endorsing the latest band of pirates to arrive upon the bay because at least their heinous exploits are less fresh upon our memory than the current band. However, I have zero sympathy for Vaughn's redistricting exploits. I await a council that puts the average taxpayer before party. Nobody seems to want to do that.