Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The DMD Budget Hearing - Say What ?

The 'great catch award' goes to Councillor Brian Mahern for his persistence in questioning at last night's budget hearing for the Department of Metropolitan Development, on an item that turns out not to be in DMD's budget at all -- the $10 million gifted to the Pacers by the Capital Improvement Board for 2011.

The questioning and answering was dispersed throughout the budget discussion - so I noted the timestamp in case you'd like to fast forward to these segments -- timestamps 45:00 - 49:00, 50:30 - 52:40, and 1:00:50 - 1:05:50 on the Channel 16 broadcast (click here, then on 'video' for September 13, 2010).

Mahern was following up on an IBJ article by Scott Olson last month (see also my blog entry "CIB Says Its Budget Increase Isn't What It Looks Like") where it was first disclosed that $8 million in funding for the ICVA would come "from downtown-development funds", freeing dollars that the CIB usually sends to the ICVA. The CIB was then able to build a budget within which they could donate $10 million to the Pacers.

Upon reading that article previously, I had assumed this was money from the Sports Development Area, that was created, and recently expanded, to provide funds for the downtown sports and tourist industry. Wrong ! These "downtown-development funds" are actually coming from the downtown 'consolidated TIF' area. So, now we have expanded the footprint of the tax dollars being redirected to these endeavors that really should be self sustaining.

The information illuminated last night was that the Metropolitan Development Commission has the authority to dispense TIF revenue any way it pleases, as long as it abides by the parameters set up for that TIF area by the Council. It pleased the MDC, evidently, to send $8 million to the ICVA. (David Reynolds, City Controller, actually called it an 'opportunity' to fund the ICVA.)

Mahern made a particularly salient point, when he referred to last year's increase in hotel tax. He noted that the Council amended the ordinance with a provision that the hotel tax could not be used to enrich any sports team.

Mayor Ballard and that clever lot on the 25th floor, struck a deal with the Council to get the hotel tax increased, then quickly engineered a way around the deal, it would seem.

The municipal corporations committee, Chaired by Councillor Barbara Malone, will consider the CIB budget on October 11 at 5:30 in room 260 of the City-County Building. It is worth repeating, the CIB-Pacers agreement gives an out should the Council not fund that item in the CIB budget for 2011. The Council can just say 'no' to gifting the Pacers with the 2011 installment of $10 million. And they should.


Gary R. Welsh said...

Actually, Pat, the Indianapolis Times blog noted awhile back the money was TIF revenues, which means property tax revenues are in effect now being used to fund the ICVA. Ballard has repeatedly said the CIB uses no property tax money when defending its budget. He can no longer make that claim.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Thanks Gary - I missed that item over at the Times. Credit where credit is due.

This also means that investments that could otherwise be made elsewhere in the downtown consolidated TIF will not be made. Or, gasp, that money could have been used to retire the TIF early.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Pat, Lest we forget it also completely undermines their argument these entities are all funded with separate pots of money. Schools, libraries and parks all rely on precious property tax revenues and are facing large cuts while these property tax funds are being diverted so Don Welsh can keep earning close to $300,000 a year and have a large staff of high-paid people to find business for the downtown hotels and restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Reply to AI.... The word Earning on the part of Don Welsh @ ICVA is quite a stretch...

More appropriately stated as GRAFTING...

That job is no more than $100,000 base salary, vehicle and $2,500 a month in T&E (more if he actually produces something)... Between Clark and this Bozo we over pay them alone by $400,000.

It is time do merge all these Municpal Corporations' operations (maintain their legal status if it actually provides legal protection, if not legally merge the entities) and have ONE CEO called the Mayor. The rest of these cockroaches become simply department heads at $100K a piece.