Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The CIB Is Up - Part 3 of Series

The budget process for the Capital Improvement Board (CIB) ended up surprising me. I thought for sure the Council would put in more money than was requested.

The CIB, like the Airport Authority, Public Library, IndyGo, and Health & Hospitals, is a Municipal Corporation whose budget is not part of the City-County budget, but which does have to submit its annual budget for approval by the City-County Council.

The adopted budget for the CIB for 2010 is $145,932,200 -- $65,402,700 operating fund + $32,246,000 bond fund + $48,283,500 that passes through the CIB budget back to the State to pay off the bonds for Lucas Oil Stadium. $9,030,500 of the CIB's budget will be passed on to the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association to promote the Convention Center, offer discounted hotel rooms (which, as I understand it, the ICVA underwrites -- see Advance Indiana's blog entry about that issue), and promotion of Indianapolis as a tourist destination.

But, the process of getting to those numbers was more interesting than the numbers themselves. At the original committee hearing on the CIB budget, a lot of questions were asked about the perceived need for new carpeting in the existing Convention Center. There were a whole lot of questions asked and answered at the time, and this piece didn't ping my radar. There were also a whole lot of comments about how the ICVA needs more money to promote the new space. That pinged my radar, for sure.

At the end of the day, the Council moved $1.25 million from the budget category that included the new carpeting, to the budget category that includes the ICVA. So while the ICVA was enriched, no net new money was added.

The CIB budget is one of the more confusing ones to explain. That is because they had to revise the 2009 budget since it was adopted to recognize several things. The taxes that fund their operations were hit by the economy and were down, as are the profits from those operations. The tax increases and state loans increase their revenues this year, as well as in the future. There were cutbacks in expenses also made. In the end, they revise their 2009 budget, dropping it by almost $13 million. The bailout money allowed them to not spend as much of their cash reserves on the 2009 budget as had originally been planned. The budget for 2010 drops by another $3.5 million from the revised 2009 budget.

At the Council meeting where the CIB budget was finally voted on, Ben Hunter (R) joined Ed Coleman (L) and Democrats, Bateman, Brown, Evans, Gray, Lewis, Brian Mahern, Dane Mahern, and Oliver in voting nay. All remaining Councillors, 17 of them, voted yea. (Smith and Minton-McNeill were absent all night.)

The Councillors promised to work with the CIB to find ways to fund their operations, most notably by having a committee push forward to get financial support from surrounding Counties and to show a united front with next year's Legislative Session.

They also made comments that indicated to me they would also be looking at how the CIB and other downtown organizations go about doing the jobs they are doing and even consider restructuring how they interact. If I understood those comments correctly, that would be a very positive development, indeed.


Blog Admin said...

Wait a second. Didn't Lutz vote against the budget while in committee, but voted for it in the full council?

Man, he's just making his own "I voted for it before I voted against it." shindig.

Had Enough Indy? said...

I had to view the Channel 16 archive of that meeting -- but, yes Councillor Lutz did vote against the budget in Committee. His reasons included the idea that there wasn't enough money in the budget. You can view it for yourself - his comments begin at time stamp 18:34. The meeting date was September 16 and it was the Municipal Corporations Committee.

cut and paste this link, then click on the appropriate meeting:

Had Enough Indy? said...

sorry -- cut and paste the link into the address box of your internet browser

Had Enough Indy? said...

I want to say that Councillor Lutz also explained his CIB vote before that budget passed at the City Council meeting on September 21. The Channel 16 archive lists that meeting, but I cannot get the video to run. It is proposal 314, if you can get it to work and want to skip all the stuff that preceeded it.