Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Interesting Reading - SB325 - Would Increase Council Oversight of MDC Actions

It surely may have been discussed and I simply missed it, but SB325 is new to me and quite interesting.  Authored by powerful Senator, Luke Kenley, the bill's effect in Marion County would be to impose additional Council oversight of some actions of the Metropolitan Development Commission.  SB325 passed out of the Senate and now awaits action in the House.  The LSA review of the bill is also available.

If enacted, the legislation would require City-County Council review or approval whenever the MDC wanted to commit public funds for the payment of bonds, leases and any other 'loan' type obligation.  It would require approval in most instances.  It would require only review if the purpose was sale or acquisition of real estate for more than $5 million or for 3 years or longer term of payment - if less than either it would escape review and approval.

The bill makes the MDC budget subject to review by the Council and their books subject to audit by the State Board of Accounts.  Their meetings and documents would be subject to the State's open door and open records laws.

Of particularly strong interest to me was the provision that any obligation of TIF funds for bonds, leases, loans, etc., (unless for the purchase of real estate noted above) would require prior approval by the Council.  Also, for any TIF that generates more than twice the amount of money the MDC needs to pay the obligations of that TIF, the MDC would have to return the excess revenue to the regular tax stream, thereby going to help the schools, library, townships, etc.  Currently, the MDC can and does return some excess to the regular tax stream, but there is no threshold above which they must. The Council would have to approve the amount each year, AND, would have the authority to change the amount up or down.

I tried to find others who had an eye on this bill and found this statement from the Indiana Farm Bureau :
Indiana Farm Bureau supported the bill because it provides much needed checks and balances and much more transparency.


Paul K. Ogden said...

Are you sure this applies to Indianapolis and its MDC. There is a separate article or chapter for Indy when it comes its MDC. I did a search and couldn't find MDC mentioned in the bill.

My understanding is that this is aimed squarely at what Mayor Brainard with its redevelopment commission up there.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Some sections do modify 36-7-15.1, which does cover MDC redevelopment activities. See p 36 of the pdf for an instance.

Fred McCarthy said...

I scanned through the bill rather rapidly. What is the effect of the use of the word "review" as opposed to "approval?"

Had Enough Indy? said...

It means the Council would get detailed information presented at a public meeting. They would get to ask questions. But, they would only get a non-binding vote on the information. Still, they would have to vote.