Friday, August 27, 2010

CIB Says Its Budget Increase Isn't What It Looks Like

The IBJ is on top of it once more. Reporter Scott Olsen is reporting today that the Capital Improvement Board is requesting an increase of $10 million in their 2011 budget over their budget this year.

But get this -- it has absolutely nothing to do with their $10 million gift to the Pacers organization ! Quack, quack, quack.

Olsen writes:

The Capital Improvement Board’s 2011 operating budget is projected to increase by $10 million over this year's budget—the same amount the organization initially will provide to the Indiana Pacers under a new funding agreement reached last month.

But CIB President Ann Lathrop insists funding for the Pacers to help operate Conseco Fieldhouse, which totals $30 million over the next three years, is not the only reason for the larger, $73.1 million operating budget.


Okay, I know I'm not an accountant, but I did major in Math in College, so... If the CIB never gave away the $10 million to the Pacers, and they never agreed to $3.5 million in improvements to the Conseco Fieldhouse, wouldn't the CIB budget drop by $3.5 million in 2011?


Olsen highlights several expenditures in the new budget:

Higher-than-expected costs to operate Lucas Oil Stadium have helped put the CIB in a financial bind. The 2011 operating budget allocates $3.5 million, the same amount as this year, to the Indianapolis Colts for a share of revenue from stadium events. Another $1.6 million—$100,000 more than this year—will be given to the team to reimburse it for game-day expenses.

Other highlights of the 2011 budget include $300,000 in funding for the Arts Council of Indianapolis, which formerly received as much as $1 million annually, and $300,000 to support local tourism efforts.


I have uneasy, mixed feelings about Olsen's disclosure that the $8 million of taxpayer money that the CIB would normally hand over to the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, "will not come from CIB revenue but from downtown-development funds". Hold on to your hats, er, wallets, folks. The CIB budget is going up by $10 million AND $8 million will come from 'downtown-development funds'. That adds up to an increase of $18 million for the tourist trade. But, contrary to Lathrop's assertions, I still think $10 million of that is the gift to the Pacers.



Paul K. Ogden said...

Of course it is. People on the CIB just think we're all stupid and can't make the connection. Thanks for covering this. I'm busy discussing the ACS parking deal.

Jon said...

The CIB has never been held accountable and under their current structure never will be held acccountable. They publish self serving 'studies' to show that the money they keep pouring down the drain 'really benefits Indianapolis'. They raise their budget 20 million and then praise themselves when they reduce the same budget 6 million.
The CIB acts as if the taxpayers are just a group of suckers whose sole purpose is to feed their egos and fulfill the wants and needs of Indianapolis sport's billionaires.
It about time we suckers got serious and find a way to disband the CIB. Indianapolis doesn't need them and the taxpayers don't need them.

Paul K. Ogden said...


Exactly...hopefully the legislature is listening.

It's amazing to me that while there was the debate to raise the CIB taxes last year, not a single Republican elected official rose up to demand accountability from the CIB in exchange for their vote for the tax increases.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Accountability is an interesting point.

The Council has the authority to reject this budget or modify it to their liking.

There was an out in the recent Pacers deal - if the budget isn't approved, then the CIB doesn't have to give the Pacers the money.

So, now the Council has a decision to make - and be held accountable for.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The catch Pat is that if the council rejects the Pacers deal, the team's obligation to repay the $10 million the CIB has already given to it as a loan is forgiven and it's off the hook on the short-term deal the CIB negotiated with the team to keep it in town.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Gary - but why throw good money after bad? The penalty to leave is high. And there's plenty of better things to spend $20 million on, if it MUST be spent at all.

The Council has a choice. It may not be the best choice in the world, but they should be accountable for their vote.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I agree. I'm just saying the CIB structured the deal to blackmail the council into supporting it.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Gary - that sounds about right. Given that almost all of them are appointed by the Mayor, it is logical to assume they are doing exactly what he wants them to do. He should be held accountable as well.