Monday, March 21, 2011

City-County Council To Meet Tonight

The Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council meets tonight beginning at 7 pm in the Public Assembly Room of the City-County Building. Their agenda is posted here.

Going back to the proposals I mentioned were being introduced at the Council's last meeting, this is where those proposals stand:

Prop 46 -- Would approve a property tax installment plan for those who have homestead property in Marion County. After approval by the Council, the State Department of Local Government Finance would also have to approve the plan. Mike Rodman, County Treasurer, drafted the plan. The plan would be voluntary, and presumably appeal to those homeowners who either have no mortgage, or those whose mortgage company does not escrow funds for property tax payments. Passed out of committee 4-0 and will be voted on by the full Council this evening.

Prop 47 -- Would establish a $100 cash fund so that the Assessors office could provide change to those who make small, cash payments for services. Passed out of committee 4-0 and will be voted on by the full Council this evening.

Prop 77 -- Would give $2 million to the Indianapolis Parks Foundation for crime prevention grants. I assume that most, if not all, of this amount would be passed on to crime prevention grant awardees. But, the proposal as posted online, does not specify how much of this money is intended to be used by the Foundation for administration and evaluation of the grantee projects. Passed out of committee 5-0 and will be voted on by the full Council this evening. [edited to add: Jon Murray, IndyStar reporter, notes "That work comes at a cost: The foundation will use $140,000 of the $2 million for administrative costs, including contracting with a program evaluator. An additional $93,000 will go for training public safety employees to work with community-based crime-prevention programs. That leaves about $1.8 million for grant awards."]

Two other proposals have not made it through committee yet:

Prop 52 -- Would amend the sign ordinance to allow two types of signs on IndyGo bus shelters and City-owned benches at bus stops - advertising signs and transit related signs. It is hoped that more bus shelters would be erected to City specifications by firms interested in selling ads for the City, and that the ads would bring in some additional revenue for the always struggling IndyGo.

Prop 62 -- Would add licensing requirements and regulation of flea markets into the ordinances.

Of those being introduced tonight that caught my eye, quite a few are related to public safety. Councillor Ben Hunter, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, is sponsoring a number of those.

Prop 82 would require permits for police escorts for professional sports teams. The permit fee is $775 for up to 4 vehicles (with one bus being counted as two vehicles) and $75 for each additional vehicle to be escorted. Interestingly enough, there are two caveats imposed -- first, no tax dollars can be used to pay the fee, and, second, the CIB may not pay the fee on behalf of the professional team. Prop 82 also creates a Law Enforcement and Equipment Fund. The permit fees noted above, would be used to put money into this Fund. The Fund could be used for the Traffic Branch of IMPD.

Prop 83 would amend the part of the Ordinance related to IMPD Reserves. It would add the requirement that to be eligible, a person must reside in Indiana. It strikes the current requirement that one be under 65 years of age and eliminates a mandatory retirement age of 70. It imposes an employment background check and it shifts a variety of decisions from just the Chief of Police to both the Chief and the Public Safety Director.

Prop 86 would shift current MECA duties to the Public Safety Director. This issue came up during the last budget season. Mayor Ballard's budget moved MECA's money to other areas. Quite a few uniformed firemen showed up to that particular budget hearing. Councillor Hunter assured all that there would be amendments to the budget that returned everything to status quo, which he did do. Now, it appears, some deals have been struck. This could be interesting.

Prop 84 has to do with the police merit system, but is not being sponsored by Councillor Hunter. Instead, Councillors Vernon Brown, Monroe Gray, Brian Mahern, and Maggie Lewis.

This proposal changes the appointments to the Fire Merit board - reducing from 4 to 3 appointed by the Director of Public Safety, adding 3 appointments by the Council, increasing from 2 to 3 the number appointed by the firefighters. New restrictions for eligibility are that a person may not have run for political office before, nor may they be related to an employee of IMPD or IFD or a contract service provider to same. The political party affiliation of the appointees is balanced and there is a new requirement that one of the appointees of the firefighters be a minority or woman firefighter. The rules for hiring and promotion would be altered to include points for residing in Marion County and having graduated from a Marion County high school, or residing in Marion County for the last 10 years.

Similarly, the Police Merit Board appointments would be changed in an identical manner. The decision to employ an applicant would change from the current decision by the Chief to a bit more cumbersome decision process -- the Chief would select the first 80% of candidates based on score on the eligibility list and the final 20% could be any candidate on the list, regardless of score. Residency in Marion County and graduation from a County high school, or, 10 years of residency in the County shall be considered in hiring and promotion decisions.

There is one non-public safety proposal that also caught my eye. That would be Prop 79, which would authorize the issuance of $65 million in Indiana Waterworks District Net Revenue Bonds. Interestingly enough, in late February, Fitch Ratings downgraded Indy's Waterworks bonds to "A" from "A+". I am still slogging through the rational, but feel free to review it and tell us all what it means (Business Wire report posted here).


Anonymous said...

We know this isn't a post about the MSD Decatur Township...but this needs to be known.

1. Cathy Wiseman lives in MOORESVILLE on Hicory Hill Trail. Far from her legally elected residence in Maywood Manor.

2. Lets watch how much money our Board of Education spends in San Fransisco April 9-11. Lets also watch how many days they spend before and after the Conference and how much money their spouses cost us, the taxpayers....

3. Say it ain't SO Batman! Are they REALLY talking about cutting teachers salaries again? Not just ANY teachers...but....GASP!

Maybe the money they spend on themselves in San Fran could pay for a teachers salary for a year?

Lets watch real close!

Anonymous said...

Is Stinson going to San Francisco with them??? How can they afford that when there is no money???

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:24: LOL! They all just got back from Denver CO from the AASA conference. It was in February; the 17-19 of February. Why does the entire board and their spouses have to go to these things?

Anonymous said...

Cathy Wiseman's hubby has been 'promoted' from a 220-day shift custodian at DILC, where he had responsibility on each shift for about 25 rooms to clean. He's now the 'head custodian' at the DDA building across the street from Valley Mills school, where he's now responsible to clean only 8 rooms. That position has now been stretched from a 4 hour a day job to an 8 hour a day job so he can be full-time with the MSD. He brags to everyone that he doesn't have to pay the huge monthly premiums for the school's health insurance because he's covered under the health insurance his wife receives as a school board member. Sweet, and all after working at the MSD for only 5 months. At least since he's the head custodian at his building, he can give himself extra days off so he can accompany his wife when she flies out of state on party junkets courtesy of $uperintendent $tinson. Your tax dollars at work, folks.

Anonymous said...

If this is true - I'm not saying it is not - then school board members are getting a huge amount of money from the taxpayers for their insurance. Contact the television stations.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:25: We have. Have you? There's strength in numbers. Kara Kenney has been a friend of Decatur; others don't seem to care. Have you emailed or called her? What we're talking about here is only the tip of the iceburg. Like the blog says "had enough indy"? LOL!

When you call the media ask them why they don't pursue stinsons DUI or his ridiculous salary and benifit package. Funny; they were all over Terry Thompson; Stinson makes that much every year.