Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Budget Season Getting Really Interesting - CIB Budget Delayed

Usually this part of budget season is dull and boring.  We're in the wrap-up phase after all the departments and agencies responsibilities and budget numbers have been discussed and after the big public hearing before the full Council.  About now, in the old days, there would be technical amendments to fix transposed numbers and whatnot - sometimes undoing the consumption of one group by another - but normally routine passage of the introduced budgets by the committees.

This year, due expressly to split government, we have real review of the budget and the Democrats are reworking the budget in significant ways.  They made it clear over the last month or so of committee hearings, that they would try to reinstate IMPD and IFD contractual raises and recruit classes. 

I have heard discomfort from Councillors on both sides of the aisle about Mayor Ballard's request that the homestead credit be eliminated - which sounds like, and is, a tax increase to many.  Plus its elimination actually causes a $3.5 million loss in revenue to Marion County schools.  So, the Ds are trying to dredge up an additional $8 million to substitute.  Heads of the municipal corporations have reported to the Council that the Mayor will be offering a deal to them to soften the blow from the homestead credit elimination, but so far no such deal has been revealed to the public.

With that back drop, I still wasn't expecting for something to be afoot with the CIB budget, but it is.  At their budget hearing in committee, they were chastised for not stepping in to aid the City in its time of need, when the City had stepped up when they needed a helping hand.

In the CIBs budget there was a golden egg for the ICVA.  DMD is in the process of selling a building next to the old Conseco Fieldhouse (someone please remind me of the new name) and the proceeds will go to the ICVA.  Something like $4.6 million is expected.  This is over and above the $9 million they get annually from the CIB.  The lion's share of the CIB revenue is from taxes of one kind or another.

The CIB is done with its $10 million a year 'loan' to the Pacers, so that's freeing up some cash.

Last night the Municipal Corporations committee of the Council met to make any final tweaks to the muni corp budgets.  But Chairman Monroe Gray announced that the CIB budget would not be discussed.  They are working on the numbers and they will call another committee meeting, hopefully by Wednesday or Thursday of next week.  The entire budget must pass out of committee in time for the October 15 meeting of the full Council.

What's brewing with the CIB budget?  Nobody is telling me anything.  But something interesting is going on.  Stay tuned.

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