Monday, June 10, 2013

Council Meets Tonight

The Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council meets tonight.  The agenda lists a couple of items that caught my eye.

Among those Proposals to be introduced, three stand out.  Prop 162 would appropriate $150,000 to the Election board for legal expenses.  The proposal does not say what prompts the need, just that the necessity has arisen since the budget was finalized last fall.  It will be interesting to see what issue compelled the increased legal fees.

Prop 163 and 164 are tandem proposals aimed at sweeping up the last debris left over from Mayor Vaughn's successful budget blackmail action of last fall; when he vetoed several line items in the Council-adopted 2013 budget.  The former proposal reduces the approved budget by the amount vetoed (which targeted County Offices), while the latter proposal restores the targeted County Office budgets to pre-blackmail status.

Up for a vote is one I had not followed and seems innocuous enough.  Prop 108 would add one more appointment to the domestic violence fatality review team; this person being from a domestic violence response organization.  There currently are 15 members, all of which appear to be appointed by the Council.  According to the agenda, this proposal passed out of committee by a vote of 7-0 and was passed by the full Council 29-0.  And yet, it was vetoed by the Mayor.  Go figure.  This will be interesting, particularly to the point of who votes to override the veto, and who does not.

Prop 105 would establish an Economic Improvement District for the Fountain Square commercial area.  This would allow the collection of an extra tax based on street frontage.  The extra tax was approved by a majority of those affected.  After 5 years, another vote of those folks would decide if the EID would be approved for another 5 year stint.  At the 10 year mark, a new petition would have to be circulated to see if there was continued interest in the area.

Prop 133 is yet another abatement, or two actually, for Eli Lilly.  This proposal would approve a 10 year real property abatement and a 10 year personal property abatement for new construction and equipment at their 1555 Kentucky Avenue and 1223 W. Morris Street facilities.  There was much controversy over whether Lilly met its obligations for job creation and investment a couple of years ago in a previous property tax abatement deal.  This time they are not adding any new jobs and will either transfer 175 current employees or use contract workers.  They are also using vigorous hedging language to estimate the actual investment dollars and expected completion dates.  With all the hedging, one surely must wonder if anything in these new abatement deals are anywhere near legally binding.

Now, Prop 141 is the best proposal of the evening.  This one was initiated by Councillor Vernon Brown, cosponsored by Councillor Christine Scales, and significantly added to by Councillor Zach Adamson.  Brown reintroduced the creation of a fund which could be used for public safety recruit classes.  This was passed by the Council last year and was vetoed by Mayor Vaughn as part of the blackmail vetoes.  Brown makes a valid point in reintroducing this measure - that if public safety is truly the Mayor's top priority, then recruit classes or training of experienced, but newly hired, officers and firefighters is a must.  Adamson added that $6 million from RebuildIndy money should be appropriated to the fund - the same amount that is being dedicated to the dubious cricket park on the eastside.  That addition is poetic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would recommend that people watch the city's coverage of the council meeting.

Around the 2:05:20 mark, councilor Oliver appears to be soliciting a quid pro quo for his vote. Maybe it was a rhetorical gambit. The response of the council president is also instructive as to how things are done in this city.