Thursday, September 10, 2009

Budget Hearings - Parks Budget - Final Changes

Tonight, Thursday September 10, 2009, beginning at 5:30 pm in room 260 of the City-County Building, the Parks Committee of the Council will consider any amendments to the Parks budget introduced by Mayor Ballard.

The proposed 2010 budget cuts $1.4 Million from personal services (salaries), representing a 11% cut from last year and a 21% cut from two years ago.

Let me emphasize that the 2010 budget overall includes $65 Million more than was in the 2009 budget - with $27 Million increased tax revenues EVEN AFTER the cuts from tax caps is subtracted. After increasing the funds for IMPD, the overall budget will have a surplus of $16 Million that is slated to be put into the City-County rainy day fund. So, bottom line, cuts to the Parks budget is the desire of Mayor Ballard, not the necessity forced on the budget by fewer dollars flowing into the City's coffers his PR machine has put out to the media.

Tonight we shall see what the Council Park's Committee wants to do about maintaining the status quo in Parks (which is not very high compared with other Cities across the US) or inflicting these cuts that will result in layoffs and lower the service that Indy's Parks deliver.

With the $21 Million per year CIB bailout, the playgrounds for the wealthy of Central Indiana have been secured. The rest of us deserve the playgrounds we can afford to be a priority as well.


Blog Admin said...

Did you attend? How did it go?

Had Enough Indy? said...

Indy - the 5 Rs voted to cut the budget and the 3 Ds voted against it. The only amendment was a shell game that didn't affect the bottom line one whit.

I'll post on it tomorrow when I can acheive a better perspective of the action and prospects for further actions.

I'll just share one exchange that might illustrate why I want the extra time to regain my perspective. Monroe Gray inquired about the future of the employees given a possible, specific, turn of events. Parks Director, Stewart Lowry, responded that in that scenario events would result in a reduction of FTEs. That stands for 'full time equivalents', or total number of employees. Gray pressed Lowry to recognize that these are flesh and blood people who would be dumped on the unemployment lines (although he didn't put it that way). Lowry kept it sterile - FTEs, FTEs, FTEs. How much does it cost to get a Director who actually has empathy with the folks who work for him and whose families will suffer because that Director will not stand up for status quo funding for Parks? Too much, evidently.

Check in tomorrow Indy.

Blog Admin said...

Abdul over on Twitter clearly thinks the amendment does affect the bottom line and accuses the Dems of voting "against jobs." Care to give your perspective, along with maybe context of what the amendment actually says in your post?

I unfortunately can't attend every meeting I'd like. I'm glad others are out there too.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Well Abdul's logic is suspect - that's the short version.

The jobs on the line are those employees of the Parks Department - $1,400,000 of their salaries are slated to go away. That's real money, and real people.

The bottom line is that there is $65M more in the 2010 budget than the 2009 budget, and $26M is new money from taxes AFTER the tax caps deductions are applied. There is $16M to be put into a rainy day fund -- by any account that is surplus. Also, just two nights ago, when Abdul was not present, it was revealed that the water company will gratiously give a 'payment in lieu of taxes' of $1.4M yet in 2009 and over $800,000 in 2010. Less than $200,000 of that unexpected revenue was earmarked as the source of revenue to fully fund the Telecom (Channel 16 +) budget that was slashed by Mayor Ballard.

In all of this, remember that Mayor Ballard is the central hub. He is responsible for his budget that cuts Parks while increasing many other budgets. I don't think Abdul has an equilibrium when it comes to Ballard - the opposite of his lack of equilibrium when it came to Peterson.

Again, tomorrow. I'll make sure I connect with all points of your inquiry.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Sorry, Indy. I didn't get a quick take on your Q. about the amendment.

Basically, and quickly, it shifts just over $600,000 from contracts to salaries. The employees will be allowed to bid on those contracts. Should they come in as the lowest and most responsive bid, they get to keep their jobs.

But there is still the $1.4 M cut in salaries net -- and what the Star reports is a total of $2.3M cut in ongoing operations for Parks. Just moving x from one part of the budget to another does not bridge any gap.

Again - tomorrow, I promise.