Friday, October 12, 2012

CIB Tapped For $15 Million PILOT

The Municipal Corporations committee of the City-County Council added a $15 million payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) obligation to the CIB's 2013 budget last night, by a party line 5-3 vote.

You can watch the entire hearing by visiting the WCTY archives.

You can expect that unelected Mayor Vaughn (sitting in for Mayor Greg Ballard who is on a four year world tour) did not like the outcome. And you can expect that any action taken by the CIB in response to the PILOT, will be action dictated by Vaughn.

There was much legal wrangling during the meeting between Councillor Bob Lutz, Council Counsel Fred Biesecker, and CIB Attorney Toby McClamrock.  The bones of contention revolved around a) whether adding a paragraph requiring the PILOT was an additional appropriation (which is not allowed under state law), b) whether an assessed value made after March 1 can be used to levy taxes in 2013, or if they must wait until 2014, and c) whether ordinary tax procedures apply to PILOTs anyway.  McClamrock hoisted the flag of - we may not pay it anyway - to see who saluted, but no responses were made from either side of the aisle.

On the actual meat of the reasons for this PILOT, Councillor Brian Mahern kept bringing it back to the fact that the Mayor's proposed budget would let police and fire numbers drop even further.  He said there are already 100 fewer police than at the time of the merger and by not holding recruit classes, the numbers would drop even further.  He noted as well, that the CIB relies heavily upon IFD and IMPD services for the many events that are held in their facilities.

While Councillor Lutz primarily discussed the legal aspects, Councillor Cardwell brought up all the trickle down taxes that he said were due to the CIB, indicating that was more than enough help to the City.

Ann Lathrop mentioned "I feel your pain" and later said she had a fiduciary responsibility to the CIB "not to run it into bankruptcy".  Oh pah-leez on both counts.

The CIB has had more than enough cash to give $10 million for each of the last three years to the Pacers and at the same time increase its year end 2009 cash balance from $26 million to a year end 2012 cash balance expected to be $76 million.  They also have so much money that they are proposing that all of an anticipated $4 million gained from the sale of one of its buildings be simply given to the ICVA - over and above the $9 million the CIB usually gives them.

Unfortunately for the CIB, their believability index runs near the empty mark for much of the public and some elected officials as well.

Is this PILOT the perfect solution?  No.  But the Mayor isn't offering any solutions at all to the drop in IFD and IMPD counts that would be caused by having no recruit classes.  I'm very glad that someone is stepping up to the plate and getting some solutions in place.

In the age of tax caps, the city does have to rethink some of its own self inflicted revenue hits - especially not sunsetting TIF districts that are no longer in debt.  They should rethink the airport keeping hundreds of acres of land, that it does not need for aviation purposes, off the tax rolls.  With the Great Recession still upon us, the city budget has to make it through a few more years with services intact.  This year's challenges include the recruit classes.

The CIB is given special treatment each year because they are key to the ever sacred cow - sports.  IndyGo is running on bare bones and told to dig to dangerous levels in their cum fund to survive.  The Library has had to cut employees and hours over the last few years.  Its not asking all that much for the CIB to help out here.

The budget goes to the full Council Monday night.  Come January 10, 2013, when the PILOT is due, we'll see if the CIB pays up, or if Vaughn has them fight it out in court.


Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, did someone finally hear our cries in the wilderness?

Maybe at long last Indianapolis there is some other concern besides sports in this town.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Isn't that great?

Anonymous said...

The CIB mentioned in a Star article this week that they had a 20+ million dollar committment for upgrades in current buildings. Does anyone know which buildings and what upgrades?

Had Enough Indy? said...

Anon 3:35 - in their budget presentation to the muni corp committee back in September, they listed the following projects for 2013:
New air handling units in older section of ICC
replace wall coverings, ceiling tiles and trim boards in original sections of ICC to match and flow with phase V
roof replacement in older section of ICC
pave lot 3 behind ICC
replacement of the "membrane" over Capitol Commons Garage
various projects at ICC/LOS

These total $16.2 million, so not sure what the other projects might be to bring the total to $22 million.